Deepika guides Jharkhand to twin gold in archery

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 9:
Meet records were shattered on the very first day of track and field competition, while former Commonwealth and Asian Games medallist archer Deepika Kumari steered Jharkhand to a couple of gold medals in the recurve team events on the eighth day of competitions in the 35th National Games, here today.
In the overall standings, SSCB, aiming for a third successive team title, were perched firmly at the top of the table with a total of 81 medals — 50 gold, 16 silver and 15 bronze. Maharashtra remained second on account of lesser gold medals with a total tally of 95 (27 gold, 39 silver and 29 bronze), followed by Haryana (27 gold, 18 silver and 7 bronze).
The highlight of the day was the athletics competition, which started today, and the packed University Stadium did not have to wait long for records to start tumbling, the icing on the cake being a home favourite doing the honours.
OP Jaisha outran some of the more fancied names to clock 15:31.37 sec and grab the gold with a new meet record, breaching the 15:54.26 sec mark set by defending champion Kavita Raut in the previous edition of the Games.
The 31-year-old Jaisha, who was a 5000m bronze-medallist at the 2006 Doha Asian Games, steered clear of her challengers for most part of the race and finished ahead of Maharashtra’s Lalita Babar (15:46.73sec) and Swati Gadhave (16:26.06sec) respectively. (PTI)
It was disappointment for the retiring Sreedharan, who holds the national record in this event, as she ended fourth with a timing of 16:59.99 sec in the first of her two swansong races — the other being 10,000m. Raut, on the other hand, could not even finish the race.
A new meet mark was also set in the 5000m men’s race when SSCB’s G Lakshman went past the finish line in 13:50.05sec to better Soji Matthews’ timing of 14:11.99sec, clocked in the previous Games.
Maharashtra’s Mohammed Younis (14:13.56sec) won the silver ahead of another SSCB man Man Singh (14:15.14sec).
However, there was some heartbreak as well for the hosts when former Asian Championships gold-medallist long jumper Renjith Maheshwary failed to make the finals after being disqualified for false starts in the heats this morning.
The women’s high jump final went on expected lines and Karnataka’s Sahana Kumari, the national record holder in the event, completed a hat-trick of gold medals at the Games.
She cleared 1.80m, which was way below her best of 1.92m but good enough for a top finish. West Bengal’s Swapna Kumari whisked the silver after clearing 1.67m on account of lesser attempts as Madhya Pradesh’s Mallika Mondal, who also cleared the same height, settled for bronze.
At the archery arena in Kochi, the action concluded with the recurve events in which Jharkhand swept the women’s competition, winning three gold medals (women’s team, mixed team and individual).
Jharkhand, spearheaded by Deepika, beat Manipur, which featured veteran Bombayla Devi among others, in both the women’s team and mixed team finals to emerge on top.
The individual gold was brought in by Laxmi Rani Majhi, who sailed past Satbir Kaur Saini of Assam 7-3 in the summit clash. Deepika, a former world number one, finished fourth in the individual event after losing the bronze medal playoff 2-6 to Uttar Pradesh archer Seema Verma.
The mixed team and the women’s team bronze went to Bengal. The eastern state got the better of Assam in both the play-offs.
The men’s team gold was grabbed by Uttar Pradesh, ahead of Assam and SSCB respectively.
Former Asian Games silver-medallist Tarundeep Rai (SSCB) clinched the indiviodual gold by beating teammate Gurucharan Besra in a shoot-off.
Delhi’s Dheeraj ended up as the bronze-medallist after beating Jhakhand’s Bulbul Marandi 4-2.
Elsewhere, SSCB were the dominant force in men’s triathlon, walking away with both the individual as well as the team gold medals. Minachandra won the individual gold before teaming up with Dilip and Gurudatt to finish on top in the team competition.
The individual silver and bronze went to Dilip and Manipur’s Mahesh respectively, while Goa (Mani Singh, Bishworjit Singh and Dhiraj) and Manipur (Mahesh, Sushil Singh and Dewanjit Singh) took the second and third spot in the team final. (PTI)


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