SPORT

Veerdhaval Khade signs off in style

NEW GAMES RECORD: Veerdhaval Khade had a great outing winning the 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly with a record to boot. Photo: R. Ragu

NEW GAMES RECORD: Veerdhaval Khade had a great outing winning the 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly with a record to boot. Photo: R. Ragu  

S. Sabanayakan

GUWAHATI: He began in style and ended with a flourish. Veerdhaval Khade of Maharashtra opened the swimming competition of the 33rd National Games by winning the first gold medal. And on the final day he brought the curtains down on a week of exciting action at the Dr. Zakir Hussian Aquatic Complex with a gold medal and a record to boot.

Having set three Games record in the first six days in which he improved upon India's best performance record once, Khade established two in the 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly on Friday. The day's two other records were recorded by Rehan Poncha of Karnataka in the men's 100m backstroke and Lekha Kamath of Maharashtra in the women's 50m butterfly event.

As usual, the pool was a very happy hunting ground for Karnataka which emerged the best State with a haul of 19 golds, 13 silvers and 15 bronze medals. It was followed by Maharashtra with 10-10-9 and Delhi with 10-4-7, thanks to Richa Mishra's personal haul of 8-3-1.

Rehan Poncha fished out nine golds, three silvers and as many bronze medals for a total of 15 to be the best among the lot. Richa, who surpassed her previous Games best of seven gold medals at Hyderabad, ended one better. The final day was indeed a heart-breaking experience for this 23-year-old Delhi lady, for she figured in all the four events and could only win a silver and a bronze and finish out of the medal bracket in the other two.

Exciting contest

In the most exciting contest of the day, Lekha pipped Richa in winning the 100m breaststroke with a time of 1:21.59s. It was Richa who took an early lead in the 50m. As the swimmers turned for the final 50m, Lekha's strokes continued to be quicker and powerful as Richa slowed down a wee bit to concede the lead and the gold which the latter so badly wanted.

It was mixed luck for Kerala in the water polo event. While its men's team won the gold beating Services, Delhi took gold in the women's section.

The results:

Men: 100m freestyle: 1. V. Khade (Mah) 52.80s ( NGR, previous 53.94s by Sebastian Xavier in 1997), 2. T.A. Sujith (Ser) 54.67, 3. Aniketh D'Souza (Kar) 55.28; 100m backstroke: 1. Rehan Poncha (Kar), 1:00.68s ( NGR, previous 1:01.54s by T.K. Senthil Kumar in 2002), 2. M.B. Balakrishnan (TN) 1:01.75s, 3. Sandeep N.A. (Kar) 1:02.90; 100m breaststroke: 1. Puneet Rana (Pun) 1:08.09s, 2. Sandeep Sejwal 1:09.06, 3. Rohit Kumar (Del) 1:09.83; 50m butterfly: 1. Veerdhaval Khade (Mah) 26.03s ( NGR, previous K. Rajeev of Kerala in the heats, old 26.52s by Akbar Ali Mir in 2002), 2. K. Rajeev (Ker) 26.69, 3. Rehan Poncha (Kar) 27.04s.

Women: 100m freestyle: 1. Shikha Tandon (Kar) 59.92s, 2. Kshipra Mahajan (Kar) 1:01.44, 3. Lekha Kamath (Mah) 1:01.62; 100m backstroke: 1. Fariha Zaman (Asm) 1:09.49s, 2. Sony Cyriac (Ker) 1:11.30, 3. Richa Mishra (Del) 1:11.85; 100m breaststroke: 1. Lekha Thomas (Mah) 1:21.59s, 2. Richa Mishra (Del) 1:21.70, 3. Shikha Tandon (Kar) 1:23.59s; 50m butterfly: 1. Lekha Kamath (Mah) 29.65s ( NGR, previous 30.07s by Richa Mishra in 2002), 2. Shikha Tandon (Kar) 30.71, 3. Fariha Zaman (Asm) 30.77s.

Water polo: men's final league: Kerala 10 (S. Vinod 3, S.L. Gopakumar 3) bt Services 7 (Sree Kumar 3, S. Das 3). Standing: 1. Kerala, 2. Services, 3. Bengal.

Women's final: Delhi 9 (Biji Devi 5, Smita Gawhane 2) bt Kerala 7 (B. Praveena 3, C. Archa 2). Standing: 1. Delhi, 2. Kerala, 3. Maharashtra.

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