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India dominate at South Asian Games

August 22, 2006 22:46 IST

India's gold medal tally crossed the half century mark as the country won medals from every discipline on the fifth day of competition at the 10th South asian Games in Colombo on Tuesday.

The Indians bagged 15 gold medals during the day, dominating in each of the five disciplines that went to the podium rounds.

The biggest contribution to the Indian golden tally came from the pool, as the nation won seven of the eight finals, sinking three meet records in the process.

Three more gold medals came from table tennis, two each from badminton and shooting, while boxers had to be satisfied with a sole win.

The Indian gold tally stood at 54, once again making the regional multi-disciplinary sports meet a virtual no-contest.

In swimming, the Indian gold count reached 25, leaving only four for the other participating nations.

Rehan Poncha won the men's 200m individual medley gold with a new meet mark of 2:11.22 seconds, and Fariha Zaman re-wrote a record in women's 200m backstroke with a timing of 2:31.49 seconds.

Arjun Muralidharan swam to glory in men's 200m butterfly, clocking 2:05.06 seconds to better the previous Games' record.

Mandar Divase won the title in the men's 1500m freestyle, Kishipra Mahajan bagged the top honours in women's 400m freestyle, Vir Dhaval Khade came first in men's 100m freestyle before the Indian quartet of Neeraja Balakrishna, Surabhi Tipri, Kishipra Mahajan and Puja Alva brought the curtain down on the day by ensuring a top podium finish in women's 4x800m freestyle.

In table tennis, it was an all-India affair in the three title matches in doubles, as the country's tally from the event swelled to five gold and three silvers.

Commonwealth Games' champion Achanta Sharath Kamal, pairing with Poulomi Ghatak, conquered compatriot Soumyadeep Roy and Mouma Das 11-3, 12-14, 11-7, 11-6 to win the yellow metal in mixed doubles.

The women's doubles honours went to Ghatak and Das, who outclassed Kasturi Chakraborty and Nandita Saha 11-5, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8.

Sharath Kamal then combined with Roy to beat Subhajit Saha and Pathik Mehta 11-7, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8 in the men's doubles final.

In badminton, Indian competitors clinched the team championships for both men and women with identical 3-0 verdicts against Sri Lanka.

There were, however, mixed results from the shooting range.

Junior World Championship gold medallist Navnath Fartade lived up to his reputation to bag the gold in men's 10m Air Rifle event.

Navnath scored 591 in the prelims and 104.1 in the final for an aggregate of 695.1 to win the gold.

Fartade and Ragunath then teamed up with Fulchand Bangar to help India clinch the team gold with a score of 1765.

India were, however, upstaged in women's 50m rifle prone, where the host nation's Nilmini Illangarathna picked up the gold with a score of 588 out of a possible 600.

Meena managed 584 with a series of 97, 100, 99, 97, 95 and 96.

But the discipline that really put the brakes on India's golden run was boxing where they managed to win only one of the title fights.

Akhil Kumar beat Pakistan's Ali Baloch in an electrifying 54 kg bantamweight bout that finished 26-25 in the Indian's favour.

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