Thiruvanathapuram: Olympic silver-medallist shooter Vijay Kumar shone bright with a golden double even as half a dozen meet records sank without a trace in the swimming pool on the third day of competitions in the 35th National Games here on Tuesday.
After briefly losing the top spot to Haryana today, Services Sports Control Board continued to lead the medals tally with 25 medals (16 gold, 2 silver and 7 bronze), followed by the north-Indian powerhouse which tallied 24 medals (15 gold, five silver and 4 bronze). Maharashtra were third despite a higher medal count of 30 on account of 9 gold, 15 silver and six bronze.
Vijay, who won the team silver in last year's Asian Games, was in ominous form as he grabbed both the individual team gold for Services in the men's 25m center fire pistol competition. Vijay shot a score of 583 in the individual competition before Services also finished on top in the team event with a score of 1733.
Himachal Pradesh veteran Samresh Jung (576) and Services' Pemba Tamang, part of the silver-winning Asiad team, settled for the silver and bronze medals respectively in the individual competition.
The shooting range was witness to some unlikely medallists today with Kerala getting their first National Games gold-medallist in the sport through Elizabeth Koshy, who upstaged a field comprising, among others, former world champion Tejaswini Sawant, to come out trumps in the 50m women's Rifle Prone event.
Koshy shot a score of 618.5 and was followed by Haryana's Meena Kumari (617.8) and West Bengal's Kuheli Ganguli (616.6) in the second and third position respectively.
In the men's 50m rifle prone event, Services' Chain Singh Manhas left the likes of Joydeep Karmakar (West Bengal) and Sanjeev Rajput (Haryana) behind to snatch the gold medal with a score of 205.8. Madhya Pradesh's Samsher Singh Bhandari (204.6) grabbed the silver ahead of Karmakar, who shot a rather disappointing score of 183.1 to fetch a bronze.
In trap and skeet shooting events in Thrissur, World Cup gold-medallist Manavjit Sandhu, representing Punjab, won gold in men's trap finals as Uttar Pradesh's Anwer Sultan and his statemate Anirudh Singh bagged the silver and bronze respectively.
But once again, the most exciting action took place at the swimming venue where six meet records were shattered. Former Asian Games bronze-medallist Virdhawal Khade bettered the 50m freestyle record that he set in the previous Games by 0.08 seconds after finishing the race in 23 seconds here. Madhya Pradesh's Aaron D'Souza was second with a timing of 23.45sec and Gujarat's Anshul Kothari was a close third after clocking 23.56sec.
In the men's 400m individual medley, Karnataka's Arvind Mani bettered the meet record by three seconds with a timing of 4:37.75sec to clinch the gold ahead of West Bengal's Supriyo Mondal (4:38.99sec) and Sanu Debnath (4:42.28sec).
Another meet record sank when Madhya Pradesh's Richa Mishra bettered her own women's 400m individual medley mark set in 2011. The Delhi-girl, representing Madhya Pradesh, clocked 5:07.19sec to clinch a gold and was leading the field by over 12 meters in the last 100m. The silver went to Tamil Nadu's VKR Meenakshi (5:17.34sec), while the bronze was picked up by Maharashtra's Akanksha Vora (5:14.79sec).
Gujarat sensation Maana Patel, 15, then created a new meet record in the 200m women's backstroke race by clocking 2:23.03sec, bettering her own mark. Karnataka's Vania kapoor (2:25.06sec) finished second and pre-race favourite Richa (2:25.31sec) had to be content with a bronze.
In the men's 200m backstroke, the meet record was broken by Services' P S Madhu who freezed the clock at 2:05.66sec to finish on top. Maharashtra's Rohit Havaldar (2:07.36sec) fetched a silver medal ahead of Tamil Nadu's Sethumanickvael (2:10.15sec).
The evening ended with the breaking of another Games record in the women's 50m freestyle event, where Maharashtra's Aditi Dhumatkar clocked 26.90sec to steal a march over national champion Haryana's Shivani Kataria (27.26sec), who had to settle for silver. The bronze was taken by another Maharashtra girl Avantika Chavan (27.36sec).
In the weightlifting arena in Kannur, Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Vikas Thakur (85kg) shattered the Games and the national record in snatch, clean and jerk and overall to walk away with the gold medal. Thakur lifted a total of 339kg (153+186) to create a sensation today. The silver in this event went to local favourite Fizaru Nasik who lifted 301kg (131+10), followed by Uttar Pradesh's Jasvant Singh (128+150=278).
Commonwealth Games champion Satish Sivalingam, who also holds the CWG record in snatch, lived upto to the favourite tag in the 77kg category by comfortably clinching the gold with a total lift of 307kg (136+171). Haryana's Shubham Verma was a distant second after pulling off a total weight of 294kg (132+162), followed by Chhattisgarh's Ajaydeep Sarang (130+155=285).
In the women's 63kg category, Punjab's Jasvir Kaur won the gold by lifting 212kg (94+118), while Uttar Pradesh's Vandana Gupta settled for silver with a lift of 206kg (93+113). The bronze medal went to West Bengal's Rakhi Halder, who lifted 203kg (90+113).
On the wrestling mat in Kannur, Haryana's two-day domination was challenged today even though Manoj Kumar and Sakshi Malik added to the traditional powerhouse's gold rush by claiming the yellow metal in men's 65kg freestyle and women's 60kg freestyle competition respectively. Manoj beat another Manoj, representing Uttar Pradesh, to finish on top.
Sakshi, on the other hand, got the better of Uttar Pradesh's Gargi Yadav in the final, while Jharkhand's Priyanka Kumari and Madhya Pradesh's Chhaya Sharma netted the bronze medals.
However, Haryana were upstaged in the 130kg Greco Roman competition where Services' Naveen clinched the top medal, beating Punjab's Gursevak Singh. Haryana settled for a bronze in this category through Sonu, while Maharashtra's Yogesh bagged the other bronze on offer.
Haryana had to settle for a bronze -- Satyavart -- in the 97kg freestyle category as well with Punjab finishing on top through Gurpal Singh, who got the better of West Bengal's Arvind Kumar in the final. Madhya Pradesh's Yogesh was the other bronze winner in this event.
In squash, it was Tamil Nadu all the way as Saurav Ghosal entered the men's singles final, while Joshana Chinappa and Lakshya R ensured a one-two finish for the state by making the women's final.
Ghosal thrashed Delhi's Gaurav Nandrajoy 11-1 11-5 11-1 to set up a clash with statemate Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, who defeated another Tamil Nadu player Ravi Dixit 11-8 20-18 11-7.
Joshana, meanwhile, breezed past Maharashtra's Urwashi Joshi 11-5 11-8 11-2 and will vie for the gold against Laskhya, who edged past Uttar Pradesh's Sachika Ingale 11-9 12-10 14-12.