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Sports Shorts: Kushagra, Natraj continue to shine with gold

Source: PTI
September 26, 2019 20:08 IST
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Srihari NatrajKushagra Rawat triumphed in 400m freestyle to bag his fourth gold medal while Srihari Nataraj created a new meet record on his way to gold in 100m backstroke at the Asian Age Group Championship, in Bengaluru, on Thursday.

Kushagra clocked 3:55.81s to finish ahead of Taipei's Chang Cheng Li Wei (3:56.82) and Abbas Omar (4:01.52) of Syria.

"The Championships has been good for me so far. I am swimming the 4x200m freestyle relay on Friday and I am confident the Indian team will win the race and I will get my fifth gold medal. I am happy with my timing though I feel I could have done better in 400m and 800m freestyle," he said.


"I was stuck at the 3:56 seconds mark for six months and I am happy that I have broken it,” said the elated 19-year-old from New Delhi after winning the race.

Kushagra's idol, Sajan Prakash also made it to the top of the podium in the 200metres butterfly with a time of 2:00.38 seconds. He was followed by Wongcharoen Navaphat (2:01.16) of Thailand and Klzie Ayman (2:02.38) of Syria.

Nataraj enthralled the home crowd with his sensational sprint in the 100m backstroke for open category men. He created a new meet record clocking 55.06 while Atayev Merdan (55.28) from Turkmenistan settled for silver and Lau Shiu Yue (57.56) of Hong Kong won the bronze.

In the most-exciting race of the day, Indian duo of Virdhawal Khade and Natraj were edged out by Khurshidjon Tursunov of Uzbekistan who clocked 50.56 seconds to win the gold. Khade was close behind with a time of 50.68 while Srihari timed 50.91 seconds.

Earlier, the Indian men's 4x100m medley relay team comprising Nataraj, Sajan Prakash, Likith S P and Khade won gold.

The Indian team clocked 3:46.49 seconds to beat Thailand (3:48.89) and Hong Kong (3:53.99) respectively at the Padukone-Dravid Centre of Sports Excellence.

India withstood the challenge posed by Thailand and Hong Kong as they got off to a flying start thanks to Srihari Nataraj (56.55) in backstroke as he finished ahead of Hong Kong's Lau Shiu Yue (57.72) and Thailand's Kasipat Chograthin (58.41).

Sajan, diving in next for the butterfly dash, kept up India's lead with a time of 54.50 seconds while Thailand's Navaphat Wongcharoen clocked 54.50 seconds and Hong Kong's Cheung Yau Ming (56.60).
Likith SP, swimming breast stroke, was excellent as he extended the lead clocking fastest time of 1:02.47 while Thailand's Nuttapong Ketin timed 1:03.69 and Hong Kong's NG Yan Kin clocked 1:05.82 seconds.
Khade, who won gold in the 50m freestyle on Wednesday, ensured the first-place finish. He timed 53.00 seconds while Thailand's Tarit Thongchumsin clocked 52.29 seconds and Hong Kong's Fung Chung Ho 53.85 seconds. 

Mandeep, Akashdeep guide India to a 2-0 win over Belgium

Mandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh scored in the second half to guide the Indian men's hockey team to a superb 2-0 win over Belgium in the opening game of the three-match series in Antwerp.

Mandeep and Akashdeep sounded the board in the 39th and 54th minute respectively to seal the match in India's favour.

In a gritty first quarter, India were the ones who took the initiative early, forcing Loic van Doren into a save from the first Penalty Corner of the game.

Soon it was India's turn to defend and Krishan Pathak, who started the game in the goal was up to the task, pulling off a smart save off a Belgium Penalty Corner to ensure the teams went into the break locked in a stalemate.

India rushed off the blocks in the second quarter and had a succession of Penalty Corners within the first minute of the period

The Belgium defense was at hand though denying them an opener. Despite controlling a large amount of possession, India found it difficult to find a breakthrough. The teams went into half-time without troubling the scorers.

India kept the tempo up in the third period and forced van Doren into multiple saves. All the circle entries and creative play finally found it's reward in the 39th minute as Mandeep scored to give them the lead. It was this narrow lead they carried into the final quarter.

Belgium were forced in the attack in the final quarter and almost immediately tested Sreejesh in goal. He was up to the task pulling off a succession of saves to keep his team in the lead.

India capitalised on Belgium's attacking necessity to earn a pair of PCs themselves. Van Doren's heroics prevented a second. In the 54th minute, Akashdeep Singh finished off a slick moveto double India's lead. 

It was a lead they held to finish the game and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
The second game will be played on September 28. 

India's new kit unveiled ahead of Worlds

The 27-member Indian squad will compete in the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships in a new team uniform.

Athletics Federation of India launched the new kit here on Wednesday ahead of the year's biggest competition in track and field sport.

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said the kit would be worn by the national athletics team at all international events except for the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.

"Our athletes are on the cusp of making a mark at the global level, having consistently done well at the Asian level. And we are very pleased that Nestle MILO is coming on board as our Official Partner," he said.

Last month, AFI announced a major sponsorship deal for the flagship talent hunt initiative NIDJAM. "MILO now moves in deeper, by working with the Federation to create scientific approaches and feasible nutrition programmes for the junior athletes and championships under the AFI banner," read the AFI statement. 

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