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Gold sweep by boxers, shooters, kabbadi team at South Asian Games

February 15, 2016 21:51 IST

Indian men's Kabaddi team celebrate

IMAGE: Indian men's kabbadi team celebrate after winning gold medal at the 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati. Photograph: PTI

Defending champions India maintained their supremacy in kabbadi by clinching gold in both men's and women's events at the 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati on Monday.

Indian men beat arch rivals Pakistan 9-7 in a closely fought thrilling summit clash, while their women counterparts hardly broke a sweat in defending their gold medal which they had won in the previous edition by thrashing Bangladesh 36-12 in the final.

It was a repeat of the 2010 summit clash in both the finals and Pakistan and Bangladesh had to be content with a silver in men's and women's events for second time in a row. 

It was tough fight in the men's final at the R G Baruah Sports Complex with both sides refusing to give in to their opponents.

Both sides were locked 5-5 at the end of the first half before India showed in the second half why they are the reigning Asian Games champions.

The Indian women, also defending their gold they had won in 2010, were simply the far better side with overwhelming technical superiority and the match was a one-sided affair.

On the penultimate day of competition, India was perched at the top with 289 medals (173 gold, 86 silver and 30 bronze).

Sri Lanka are second with 174 medals (25 gold, 59 silver and 90 bronze, followed by Pakistan (90 medals -- 11 gold, 33 silver and 47 bronze).

Boxer Shiva Thapa poses for photographs

IMAGE: Boxer Shiva Thapa poses for photographs after winning gold in the 56kg category boxing event at 12th South Asian Games in Shillong. Photograph: PTI

The boxers hardly broke a sweat while scooping all the seven gold medals up for grabs, while the shooters ended their campaign with an outstanding tally of 25 gold medals to ensure India's reign at the top remained unchecked. 

Besides the boxers and shooters' good show, the Indian women's football team also won gold, defeating Nepal 4-0 in the summit clash.

The boxers were the stars in Shillong on Monday, all the seven men in the final scoring comprehensive victories.

Commonwealth Games silver-medallist L Devendro Singh (49kg) began India's gold rush by beating Pakistan's Mohib Ulla at the SAI campus in North Eastern Hill University, on the outskirts of the city.

The London Olympics quarter-finalist won 2-1 on a split decision.

Next man in was 35-year-old former National champion Madan Lal (52kg); he too prevailed over another Pakistani, Mohammad Syed Asif, a 3-0 winner.

World No. 2 and World Championships bronze medallist Shiva Thapa (56kg) was the fan-favourite and he impressed the boisterous crowd while beating Sri Lanka's W Ruwan Thilina.

Against the aggressive Lankan, who was aiming for head butts, Thapa had a defensive strategy to avoid his initial blows.

World No.6 Vikas Krishan (75kg) put up a brave front, fighting through flu to down Pakistan's Tanveer Ahmed.

The Olympic medal prospect prevailed with some feisty uppercuts and was adjudged a 3-0 winner.

Another from the Indian boxing hub of Haryana, 20-year-old Dheeraj Rangi, who secured a silver medal at the World Military Games in South Korea last year, defeated Pakistan's Ahmed Ali in the 60kg gold medal bout.

Experienced boxer Manoj Kumar, the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, scored a unanimous 3-0 verdict over Dinidu Saparamadu of Sri Lanka in the 64kg category.

Commonwealth Games medallist in Mandeep Jangra (69kg) survived a closely-fought contest against Afghanistan's Rahemi Alla Dad to win 3-0.

Gold medal winner Gurpreet Singh (center)

IMAGE: Gold medal winner Gurpreet Singh (center) of India, silver medal winner Ghulam Mustafa Bashir (left) of Pakistan and bronze medal winner Vijay Kumar of India at the presentation ceremony of the 25 metre rapid fire. Photograph: PTI

At the shooting range in Guwahati, India's shooters made yet another clean sweep on the final day to sign off with a staggering 25 out of the 26 gold medals on offer.

Rio Olympics bound Gurpreet Singh shot gold in men's individual 25m rapid fire pistol with a total of 28 hits on target, while Sweta Singh grabbed another yellow metal in women's individual 10m air pistol event with a total score of 194.4 even though she used her spare gun at the Kahilipara Shooting Range.

Heena Sidhu, another Olympics quota holder, had to be content with silver in the women's 10m air pistol event with a total score of 192.5, while 18-year-old Chandigarh shooter Yashaswini Singh Deswal took the bronze.

India also won a gold each in the team events to sweep aside competition from other countries in the discipline.

India gave away just one gold -- to Bangladesh -- in the discipline. The home shooters ended the competition with 25 gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze. Bangladesh are at a distant second with one gold, three silver and three bronze.

Gurpreet made up for his disappointing sixth-place finish in the 10m air pistol event on Saturday by winning the gold in 25m rapid fire pistol event on Monday.

Bashir Ghulam Mustafa of Pakistan took the silver with 24 hits on target while another Indian Vijay Kumar, who had won a silver in this event in 2012 London Olympics, bagged the bronze.

In the women's 10m air pistol finals, there was tough competition among the three Indians, exchanging leads among three of them.

But, towards the end, Sweta had established a good lead over her two Indian rivals after young Deswal had a horrendous series of two shots of 8.3 and 7,7 which cost her dear.

Sidhu was not at her best in the finals and she had just five shots of 10 plus scores out of 20 attempts, besides having poor shots of 8.8 each.

This was Sweta's worst performance despite winning the gold as she had to shoot with a spare gun.