National Games: Maharashtra clinch Raja Bhalindra trophy for first time since 1994

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Panaji: Table-toppers Maharashtra clinched three gold medals in Yogasana and one more from shooting on the final day of the 37th National Games to clinch the Raja Bhalindra Singh Rolling Trophy for overall championship for the first time since 1994.

Maharashtra finished with a total of 228 medals, including 80 gold, 69 silver and 79 bronze medals to end Services Sports Control Board’s (SSCB) reign at the top since the 2007 Games in Guwahati. SSCB finished second, bagging 66 gold, 27 silver and 33 bronze medals, while Haryana were third in the standings with 62 gold, 54 silver and 73 bronze.

Madhya Pradesh and Kerala finished fourth and fifth respectively with hosts Goa registering their best ever finish of 9th with a total of 92 medals, including 27 gold.

Karnataka swimmer Srihari Nataraj (8 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) was adjudged the Best Male Athlete while gymnasts Sanyukta Prasen Kale and Pranati Nayak of Odisha (4 gold, 1 silver each) were adjudged the Best Female athletes of the 37th National Games, which witnessed almost 11000 sportspersons vying for top honours in 42 sports disciplines, three of which were demo sports.

With just 12 gold medals to be grabbed on the final day of the competition, Maharashtra were already assured of the top spot but with Yogasana and shooting being one of their key sports disciplines, the only interest was to see whether they could extend their lead further.

And their players did not disappoint, dominating the Yogasana competition by clinching three of the five gold medals on offer while Abhidnya Patil rounded off their gold medal tally with a winning finish in women’s 25m Pistol final.

At the Yash Shooting Academy range, Manderem, Patil was so dominant in the 25m Pistol final that she could win the gold even if she had not handed a single shot on target in the final series. She managed just one to finish with 35 points, five ahead of second placed Simranpreet Kaur of Punjab. Payal of Haryana won the bronze with a score of 28 points.

Earlier, Olympian Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar of Madhya Pradesh showed tremendous composure under pressure to add the men’s 10m Air Rifle gold to his 50m Rifle 3-position triumph.

Tomar came up with shots of 10.6 and 10.4 under pressure in the final series to pip Services Sports Control Board’s Sandeep Singh by just .3 points. The MP shooter was trailing by 0.3 points going into the final two shots but underlined his position as one of the top rifle shooters in the country to finish with a total score of 250.7 in the final. Sandeep scored 250.4 for his silver winning effort while Uttar Pradesh’s Pratham Bhadana took bronze with a score of 250.4.

In the women’s trap final, Punjab’s Rajeshwari Kumari took the gold medal with a score of 44 points with Uttar Pradesh’s Sabina Haris taking the silver with a score of 43 points. Aashima Ahlawat of Haryana finished with bronze.

In the men’s trap final, Haryana’s Lakshay Sheoran shot 47 ahead of Tamil Nadu’s Prithviraj Tondaiman’s 45 to clinch the gold. M. Bakhtyaruddin Malek of Gujarat won the bronze.

At the Delhi Golf Course, Punjab’s Amandeep Drall did the double, winning gold in women’s individual and team events in the Golf competition. The golf events that happened over four days saw four rounds of intense action in which Amandeep prevailed over Zara Anand of Uttar Pradesh and Vani Kapoor of Haryana who won the silver and bronze respectively. She then paired with Mannat Brar to win the team gold and complete the double.

In the men’s category, Karnataka’s Yashas Chandra won the gold with a score of 273 while Om Prakash Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh won the silver with a score of 277 and Kartik Sharma of Haryana clinched the bronze with a score of 280. Shaurya Bhattacharya paired with Sachin Baisoya to win the gold in the team event ahead of Anant Singh Ahlawat and Aadil Bedi of Delhi who won the silver and Giirraj Singh Khadka and Sawai H.S Bhati of Rajasthan who won the bronze.

Earlier in the morning, Punjab’s Harveer Singh took the gold in men’s Road Race while Monika Jat led Rajasthan’s 1-2 in women’s individual Time Trial at Verna with Kavita Siyag taking the silver medal.

At the Miramar Beach, SSCB and Haryana won the Beach Handball titles beating Rajasthan and Kerala respectively.

Medal Tally (TOP 5) (Read as state, gold, silver, bronze, total)

1. Maharashtra – 80, 69, 79, 228

2. SSCB – 66, 27, 33, 126

3. Haryana – 62, 55, 75, 192

4. Madhya Pradesh – 37, 36, 39, 112

5. Kerala – 36, 24, 27, 87

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