SAG: Indian athletes pick 11 golds on profitable day

The Indian athletes left their rivals out in the cold by heavily dominating the third day’s action of the athletics events of the 12th South Asian Games at the Indira Gandhi stadium, Sarasujai, on Thursday.

L. Surya won the women's 10,000 metre race.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Suman Devi with the gold medal after winning the women's Javelin Throw event.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The Indian athletes left their rivals out in the cold by heavily dominating the third day’s action of the athletics events of the 12th South Asian Games at the Indira Gandhi stadium, Sarasujai, on Thursday.

It is indeed quite hard to remember such a clinical performance by the Indian athletes in the international stage during recent times and enjoying such a winning sequence, though it should be admitted that the four-hour-long action did not often witness the expected standard.

But then, that was almost forgotten all the way as the home team athletes kept winning event after event and eventually wound up with 11 gold medals out of the 12 decided during another hazy evening. And what more, India had a fair share of the silver medals too, as it finished 1-2 in seven finals besides winning a bronze.

The glorious outing was also marked by three new meet marks, again all accounted by the Indians who missed out only the men’s 200m title, won by Sri Lankan M. V. Suranjaya de Silva as he left a fighting Saaid Hassan (Maldives) and Liaqat Ali (Pakistan) behind.

Blessed with a good start, Suranjaya came through the curve well and maintained his lead as he stopped the clock at 21.00s. The Maldivian, winner of the 100m silver medal on the opening day, did try his best to close in, but in vain before being left to be satisfied with another second place in 21.15s. Liaqat Ali was in third at 21.53s.

Result-wise, the most surprising one of the day in favour of the Indians was the 1-2 in women’s 200m clinched by Srabani Nanda and Dutee Chand as the duo completely outfoxed the search of a golden double by Sri Lankan Rumeshikha Rathnayaka with a good sprinting display.

The Sri Lankan, winner of the 100m title, was undoubtedly the favourite but the two Indians seemed to have come well-prepared to avenge defeat in the shorter distance. This was evident when the runners hit the straight and as the race grew hotter, both Nanda and Chand just kept going on powerfully, leaving Rathnayaka to be satisfied with the bronze. Nanda was timed at 23.91s for the gold medal, while Chand and Rathnayaka finished in 24.14s and 24.17s.

Renjith Maheswari’s return to the venue from which he had emerged as the first Indian triple-jumper to cross the 17m-mark was quite rewarding as the Kerala-born easily won his event with a new Games record to boot. True, he was nowhere near his best, but the 30-year-old’s second round effort of 16.45m was easily good enough to erase the existing mark of 16.26m.

There was an upset of sorts as Suman Devi threw the javelin to a personal best distance of 59.45m, surpassed the existing record of 52.38m, while pushing the favourite and National record holder Annu Rani to the second spot. The fight between the two athletes from Uttar Pradesh was settled in the second round of the competition and thereafter, there was a definite downturn in the fortunes of Annu Rani, who failed to miserably improve upon her first attempt of 57.13m.

The evening was quite rewarding for long-distance runner L. Surya, winner of the 5,000m title on Wednesday. The 20-year-old from Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu did one better in the 10,000m as she won her second gold medal of the meet by putting to shade the existing record of 34: 27.13; she finished the 25-lapper at an impressive 32:39.86.

The results:

Men: 200m: 1. M.V. Suranjaya de Silva (SL), 21.00s, 2. Saaid Hassan (Mal), 21.15s, 3. Liaqat Ali (Pak), 21.53s. 1500m: 1. Ajay Kumar Saroj (Ind), 3:53.46, 2. Sanjeewa Lakmal (SL), 3:54.16, 3. Rahul (Ind), 3:55.07. 400m hurdles: 1. A. Dharun (Ind), 50.54s, 2. Jithin Paul (Ind), 50.57s, 3. Mahboob Ali (Pak), 52.04s. Triple jump: 1. Renjith Maheswari (Ind), 16.45m – NGR; OR – 16.26m, 2. J. Surendhar (Ind), 15.89m, 3. Muhammad Afzal (Pak), 15.76m. Shot put: 1. Om Prakash Singh (Ind), 18.45m, 2. Jasdeep Singh (Ind), 17.56m, 3. Muhammad Waseem (Pak), 16.28m. 4 x 400m relay: 1. India, 3:06.74, 2. Sir Lanka, 3:07.59, 3. Pakistan, 3:14.82.

Women: 200m: 1. Srabani Nanda (Ind), 23:91s, 2. Dutee Chand (Ind), 24.14s, 3. Rumeshikha Rathnayaka (SL), 24.17s. 1500m: 1. P.U. Chithra (Ind), 4:25.59, 2. G.T.A. Abeyrathna (SL), 4:25.75, 3. U.K.N Ratnayaka (SL), 4:26.70. 10000m: 1. L. Surya (Ind), 32:39.86 – NGR; OR – 34:27.13, 2. Swati Gadhave (Ind), 33:57.09, 3. S.A. Lama Hewage (SL), 36.11.39. 400m hurdles: 1. Jauna Murmu (Ind), 57.69s, 2. A.C. Ashwini Akkunji (Ind), 58.92s, 3. Kawshalya (SL), 59.87s. Javelin throw: 1. Suman Devi (Ind), 59.45m – NGR; OR – 52.38m, 2. Annu Rani (Ind), 57.13m, 3. B.L. Nadeeka Lakmali (SL), 54.82m. 4 x 400m relay: 1. India, 3:35.44, 2. Sri Lanka, 3:38.89, 3. Bangladesh, 3:53.27.

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