SAG Handball: India clinches gold in men’s and women’s event

India defeated Pakistan and Bangladesh in the men's and women's handball events respectively to win the gold medals at the South Asian Games in Guwahati.

India's Manjula Pathak jumps to score a goal in the women's handball final against Bangladesh in the South Asian Games in Guwahati.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

India edged Pakistan by a solitary goal 32-31 to win the gold medal in a keenly contested men’s handball final here at the LNIPE indoor stadium here on Monday. On the distaff side of the competition, the Indian women beat Bangladesh 45-25 in a one-sided final. India thus retained both the gold medals to extend its dominance in South Asian handball.

India faced a resurgent Pakistan in the men’s final. The host enjoyed a slender lead from the start and managed to retain it by the slimmest margin as the visitor launched a strong comeback in the second half but could not successfully push it till the end.

Manpreet (eight goals) and Darshan (six goals) were the most visible names in the Indian attack helping the host run up a 15-11 lead at the break. With both the sides focusing more on defending, the first half did not see many goals.

The action got hotter after change of ends when Pakistan started replying more vigorously. India enjoyed a lead of 26–20 at one stage before the visitor started regrouping. Hajrat Hussain went past the Indian defence on quite a few occasions and scored some fine goals to narrow the gap. With two minutes of action remaining, Pakistan breathed on the back of the host making it 30-32.

Atul Kumar, the Indian goalkeeper, made at least three saves to ensure that the visitor did not score enough to draw level and helped India preserve the lead successfully till the end.

Indian women too good for Bangladesh

Indian women picked up the gold in style outclassing Bangladesh 45-25 in the final. Rajwant Kaur led the host’s attack scoring the most 10 goals while Maninder Kaur came next with six.

Bangladesh put up some resistance initially with its defence holding up the host attackers. The visitor could not sustain the pressure for long as the Indians picked up the right gaps to score and led 24-13 at the half time. The Indians widened the margin after the break and took it beyond the reach of the visitor in the second half before winning 45-25 margin.

Results

Men: Final - India 32 bt Pakistan 31; Third-place playoff – Bangladesh 37 bt Nepal 25.

Women: Final - India 45 bt Bangladesh 25; Third-place playoff – Pakistan 28 bt Nepal 24.