Kavita continues to sizzle, Services consolidate top position

Ranchi: Kavita Raut continued with her sizzling performance on the track as she shocked Asian Games
gold medallist Preeja Sridharan for the second time in the
athletics competition while Services consolidated their lead
in medal standings in the 34th National Games here on Monday.

Having earlier beaten Preeja for 10,000m gold, the
concluding day of athletics competition witnessed the
25-year-old Maharashtra tribal girl notching up a double as
she pipped the national record holder from Kerala for the
5,000m title.

In a repeat of the 10,000m final, Kavita trailed past
Preeja in the final run to stop the clock at 15:54.26 and
shatter the 12-year-old Games record of Sunita Rani who had a
timing of 16:05.36 in Imphal National Games.

Preeja`s timing of 15:54.98 also bettered the meet

Kavita had finished behind Preeja in both the 10,000m and
5,000m in the Asian Games last year, settling for silver and
bronze respectively.

In another upset of sorts, Indian sprint king Abdul
Najeeb Qureshi was pushed to the third spot in 200m when
Services Nitin Kumar bagged the gold from Andhra Pradesh`s M
Manikanandaraj in a photo-finish.

Services also clinched the 4x400m relay gold as they went
on to add five more yellow metals to their yesterday`s tally
to take a commanding lead over their rivals with 44 gold, 33
silver and 26 bronze in the medal standings at the end of the
ninth day of the competition.

Maharashtra were a distant second with 34-37-36 as
Manipur, gaining heavily from cycling and fencing, occupied
the third spot with 30-19-19.

Star international cyclist Ch Rameshori Devi of Manipur
won her fourth gold, while fencing competition got underway
with the North-eastern state bagging two more yellow metal
through W Roji Devi and in the team event.

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh marksmen dominated the shooting
range, picking up both the gold medals on offer today.

Another highlight of the day was promising Nagpur
shuttler Arundhati Pantawane`s rise to stardom when she
clinched the women`s singles title after defeating P C Thulasi
in the final. She had earlier stunned top seed Sayali Gokhale
in the semifinals.

The Nagpur girl, who was briefly ranked India number one
after she finished runner-up in the Nationals, came back from
behind to oust Kerala`s P C Thulasi for the title.

In the men`s singles summit clash, Guru Sai Dutt of
Andhra also rallied spectacularly after losing the first set
against Karnataka`s Aditya Prakash.

Having ousted top seed and statemate Sayali Gokhale in
semifinals yesterday, 21-year-old Arundhati continued her fine
run as she pipped Thulasi 14-21, 21-17, 21-15 in a close tie.

In the men`s final, Guru Sai recovered quickly after
losing the first set against an error-prone Aditya Prakash to
win 16-21, 21-10, 21-18.

The Andhra duo of Jyotshna Polavarapu and Nelakurthi
Sikkireddy clinched the women`s doubles title after beating
Maharashtra`s Sampada Sahasrabuddhe and Pradnya 21-16, 21-18.

Alwin Francis and Arun Vishnu Sivaraj Anrevamm of Kerala
beat Maharashtra`s Jishanu and Akshay 21-12, 26-24 for the
men`s doubles title.

Manipur dominated fencing competition with two gold
medals while Services bagged one.

Vijay Kumar earned Services the individual foil gold as
Tuka Ram of Andhra Pradesh bagged the silver while Gourav
Gupta (Chandigarh) and Rajeshwar (Manipur) bowed out in the
semifinals for bronze medals.

Manipur clinched women`s team gold in the epee event as
Punjab bagged the silver, while Kerala and Chhattisgarh bagged
the two bronze medals.

W Roji Devi completed Manipur`s domination with a gold in
individual foil while Jasmine bagged silver. S Bindu Devi and
Inderpreet Kaur won a bronze each after losing in semifinals.

In cycling, Gurpreet Kaur bagged two gold medals even as
international rider Ch Rameshori Devi pocketed her fourth
yellow metal in the competition.

Riding on Gurpreet and Rameshori`s performances, Manipur
and Punjab bagged two gold each to dominate the competition.

Having claimed a hat-trick of gold medals yesterday,
Rameshori clinched the women`s 200m sprint, pipping her
statemate K Suchitra Devi and stopping the clock at 13.876.

Kerala`s Kezia Verghese settled for the third spot.

Manipur clinched their second gold in cycling in men`s
200m sprint through O Bikram Singh. Asia Cup (Japan round)
bronze medallist Bikram Singh clinched his second gold when he
stopped the clock at 13.338 en route to the 200m sprint title.

Punjab`s Amrit Singh and R L Manoj of Services bagged the
second and third spots respectively.

Pankaj Kumar of Haryana clinched men`s 6km scratch title
with 09:51.30 as Amandeep Singh (Punjab) and Manpreet Singh
Kalsi of Maharashtra settled for silver and bronze.

Gurpreet earned Punjab the title in women`s 4km scratch
clocking 07:27.723, while Rejani V (Kerala) and T Nita Devi
(Manipur) bagged the silver and bronze medal.

She bagged her second gold of the day logging 25 points
en route to the title in the 16km points race as Th Helen Devi
of Manipur (21) was pushed to the second spot. Rejani V of
Kerala logged 17 for third place.

Chhattisgarh dominated the shooting range, clinching both
the gold medals on offer today.

PPS Guron earned Chhattisgarh the men`s skeet individual
title shooting 143, as Services Allan Daniel Peoples was two
points adrift for the silver. Chhattisgarh also bagged the
bronze through Baba Bedi who shot 140.

With scores of 353, Chhattisgarh were clear winners for
the team gold as Services (333) and Punjab (332) bagged the
silver and bronze respectively.

In men`s football, Bengal and Services dished out a dull
goalless stalemate to join Goa and Services in the last four.

In the semifinals, Bengal will lock horns with Goa, while
Services will clash against Punjab on February 23.

In men`s basketball, Punjab scraped past Tamil Nadu 67-59
to move into the final.

Meanwhile, top boxers from Manipur and Services sailed
into the semifinals after winning their respective bouts at
JRD Tata Sports Complex at Jamshedpur.

In the women`s fly weight (51 kg) class, Rebecca
Lalinmawaii of Mizoram was no match for Sarita Devi of
Manipur, who was the best boxer of National Championship held
in Kerala last December.

A former world champion and four times Asian championship
gold medallist, Sarita kept on the pressure on her rival with
her left-right punches to widen the margin before she clinched
the bout easily 18-2.

Vinita Mahar of Uttarakhand trounced Rijumoni Patar of
Meghalaya 9-2 to move into the semifinal round in the same
weight category.

Pinky Jangra (Haryana), who created a flutter by
defeating five-time world champion M C Mary Kom in the
quarterfinal of Senior National Boxing Championship at the
same venue two years ago, maintained her form brushing aside
international N Tonibala Chanu of Arunachal Pradesh 10-0 to
move into the semifinals.

In the men`s section, CWG bronze medallist Amandeep Singh
of Punjab, internationals Sandeep of Tripura, Th Nanao Singh
of Manipur and Sanjay Kolte of Services registered wins over
their rivals Madan Lal (Haryana), Amit Kumar Shukla
(Jharkhand), Madan Rai (Sikkim) and Madan Lal of Haryana
respectively to sail into the semifinal round in the light fly
weight (49 kg) category.

In fly weight (52 kg) class for men, junior international
Gaurav Bidhuri of Delhi trounced L Devendro Singh (Services)
by virtue of better points while Sunil Kumar of Haryana
defeated Sunil Sharma of Jharkhand to move into semifinals.

Prakash Darjee of Arunachal Pradesh and Santosh Harijan
outclassed Debendra Thapa of Orissa and Kulwinder Singh of
Punjab in the same weight category in the quarterfinal.

Playing before the home crowd, Mishal Banjamin Lakra of
Jharkhand delivered some powerful punches on Arun Kumar Limbu
(Arunachal Pradesh) to emerge 11-5 victorious.


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