Poncha wins 5th gold, Karnataka maintain top position

Last Updated: Nov 19, 2011, 20:37 PM IST

Ranchi: Rehan Poncha won his fifth gold medal to help Karnataka retain the top position with 18 gold medals on the penultimate day of the 65th Senior National Aquatic Championship on Saturday.

Poncha finished on top in the men`s 200 metres individual medley, clocking 02:07:95 and then helped the Karnataka quartet set a national record in the 4X100 metres free style relay with a timing of 03:34:55, bettering their own previous timing of 03:37:63 set in 2009.

"I was not sure till three weeks ago whether to take part in the competition, but took a last minute decision after consulting my coach. I hope I get a sixth gold tomorrow," Poncha, who is aiming a berth in the London Olympics, said.

Poncha`s effort in the 200 metre individual medley was all the more satisfying as he pushed Olympic qualifier Sandeep Sejwal to the second position.

"It`s not my main event, (yet) it?s my best time," Sejwal said after settling behind Poncha for the silver.

Police team`s Richa Mishra continued her winning spree as she collected her fifth gold as also her team`s, winning the 200 metre individual medley, beating down a double challenge from Karnataka girls - Pooja R Alva and Bhoomi R Motwani.

Alva and Bhoomi settled for silver and bronze medals respectively.