SAG swimming: Malavika continues winning spree

It was a great day for the host country which took seven gold medals of the total eight decided this evening.

V. Malavika (top) in action during the 400m freestyle swimming in the 12th South Asian Games   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

The steely determination of young V. Malavika was visible in full measure for a second consecutive day at the Dr. Zakir Hussian swimming pool, Sarasujai, on Tuesday, as the Bengaluru girl eased to a memorable win in the women’s 400m freestyle of the 12th South Asian Games.

The 17-year-old, winner of the 800m freestyle, once again held sway over the rest of the field and team-mate Shivani Kataria almost all through and touched the wall in 4:30.08 for a new Games record in the eight-lap race. Kataria finished second at 4:38.42 pushing Gaurika Singh (Nepal) to the third spot.

Overall, compared to the last three days, it was a great day for the host country which took seven gold medals of the total eight decided this evening. And holding centre-stage yet again was Sajan Prakash, who though beaten by compatriot Saurabh Sangvekar in the men’s 400m freestyle, showed tremendous character as he pocketed the 200m butterfly, with a new Games record to boot.

The fight between the two Indians in the freestyle race was decided in favour of Sangvekar as he kicked off to the front midway through and sealed a brilliant win at 3:58.84. Sajan Prakash took no chances in the fly as he powerfully stroked to a start-to-finish lead and stopped the clock at 2:03.02, a good eight seconds and more clear of second-placed Cherthana de Silva (Sri Lanka).

P. S. Madhu made it a grand double as he added a gold in 50m backstroke to the 100m title won the other day. The Thiruvananthapuram-born swimmer, now employed with MEG, Bengaluru, was hardly in trouble before finishing with a new record ahead of M. Arvind and the golden boy of the meet, Sri Lankan Mathew Abeysinghe. Madhu was timed at an impressive 26.86s as he collared the gold medal.

Besides Malavika, another Karnataka swimmer, Damini Gowda too held the eye as she also won her second gold medal in the meet. Winner of the 100m butterfly title on the opening day, Damini retained her winning touch by winning the 200m fly title in again what proved to be a one-horse race. The Bengaluru mermaid was timed at 2:21.12 – a new Games record – as she finished 18 seconds clear of her Sri Lankan rival Ridmi Rankothge, who took silver ahead of Bangladeshi Sona Aktar.

The grand showing of the Indians was complete as the home team’s quartets in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay of both the sections. The only thorn in the Indian flesh again turned out be Sri Lankan Kimiko Raheem who sped her way to a third individual gold medal with a splendid win in the 50m backstroke. The Colombo girl had a third Games record too against her name as she rocked the pool in style.

The results:

Men: 400m freestyle: 1. Saurabh Sangvekar (Ind), 3:58.84-NGR; OR – 4:04.35, 2. Sajan Prakash (Ind), 4:03.79, 3. Kyle Abeysinghe (SL), 4:11.07. 50m backstroke: 1. P.S. Madhu (Ind), 26.86s – NGR; OR – 27.63s, 2. M. Arvind (Ind), 27.18s, 3. Matthew Abeysinghe (SL), 27.49s. 200m butterfly 1. Sajan Prakash (Ind), 2:03.02 – NGR; OR – 2:05.06, 2. K.T. Chertantha de Silva (SL), 2:11.10, 3. Md. Juwel Ahmed (Ban), 2:13.02. 4 x 200m freestyle relay: 1. India, 7:43.42 – NGR; OR – 8:05,78, 2. Sri Lanka, 7:58.99, 3. Bangladesh, 8:31.08.

Women: 400m freestyle: 1. V. Malavika (Ind), 4:30.08 – NGR; OR – 4:36.08, 2. Shivani Kataria (Ind), 4:30.43, 3. Gaurika Singh (Nep), 4:40.93. 50m backstroke: 1. Kimiko Raheem (SL), 29.75s – NGR; OR – 31.08, 2. Maana Patel (Ind), 30.06s, 3. Bisma Khan (Pak), 31.95s. 200m butterfly: 1. Damini Gowda (Ind), 2:21.12 – NGR; OR- 2: 23.65, 2. Ridmi Rankothge (SL), 2:39.10, 3. Sona Aktar (Ban), 2:45.17. 4 x 200m freestyle relay: 1. India, 855, 98, 2. Sri Lanka, 9:26.47, 3. Pakistan, 9:48.04.