Indian athletes continued to sparkle at the 13th South Asian Games clinching as many as 15 gold medals on the third day. India now tops the points table after winning a whopping 71 medals, including 32 gold, 26 silver, and 13 bronze.
The third day started brightly for India, with the track and field athletes extending India’s gold spree to five for a total of ten medals (three silver and two bronze). Besides, it saw the Indian table tennis squad clinch six medals with three gold and three silver. The taekwondo team masterminded another six medals, including three gold, two silver, and one bronze. The triathlon team followed it up with five more medals (two gold, two silver, one bronze) for the day. The Kho Kho event also saw India win two more medals.
India only reinforced its dominance in the world of athletics to advance the total medal count to 20 on the third day. On Day 1, as many as ten medals came from Indian athletics which included four gold, four silver, and two bronze. Archana Suseendran made a bumper start yet again after claiming gold in the 100m dash on the second day. She went on to win her second gold of the event in the women’s 200m race by clocking a time of 23.67 seconds. Her compatriot A. Chandra Lekha came third with a time of 24.37 seconds.
In the men’s event, Suresh Kumar won the 10,000m race after clocking a time of 29 minutes 32 seconds even before the pair of Lokesh Sathyanathan and Swamynathan in men’s long jump event cleared impressive distances of 7.87m and 7.77m respectively in what was a show of complete dominance by the Indians. The duo of Kirpal Singh and Gagandeep Singh produced a 1-2 result in the men’s discus throw event with distances of 57.88m and 53.57m respectively.
Navjeet Kaur Dhillon clinched the fifth gold medal for India in the women’s discus throw event with almost a below-par 49.87m. Her Indian counterpart Survi Biswas made a commendable effort of 47.47m to settle for a silver medal. Sandra Babu walked away with the bronze medal after producing an effort of 6.02m in the Women’s long jump event.
The taekwondo players also asserted the supremacy clinching a total of six medals, with three gold medals. Latika Bhandari (under 53kg), Jarnel Singh (under 74kg), and Rudail Barua (over 73kg) won gold medals each. On the other hand, Saurav and Gangjot won a silver medal each in the men’s under 63kg and women’s 62kg events respectively, while the bronze medal came from Chaitnya Inamdar in the men’s over 86kg category.
The Indian table tennis team also put up an impressive performance bagging a gold and silver each in all of the three events, constituting men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. In the men’s doubles final, Harmeet Desai and Anthony Amalraj prevailed over compatriots Sanil Shetty and Sudhanshu Grover 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10 to clinch the gold medal in what was an all-Indian affair. Similarly in the women’s doubles final, the duo of Madhurika Patkar and Sreeja Akula showcased the same grit as Harmeet and Anthony to pulverise compatriots Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee 2-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5 for another gold medal. In the mixed doubles event, Harmeet teamed up with Sutirtha to beat Amalraj and Ayhika 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 to clinch the top honours.
India swept two gold medals in Kho Kho with the men’s and women’s teams winning titles after defeating Bangladesh and hosts Nepal respectively. Indian men’s team simply got the better of Bangladesh and took away the gold with a 16-9 win. The women’s team, spearheaded by captain Nasreen, chased down five points with five more points from Kajal Bhor to seal the game with a 12 point win.
There were no stopping the Indian shuttlers either. Top seed Siril Verma began his campaign on a winning note as he beat Pakistan’s Murad Ali 21-12, 21-17 in the men’s singles quarterfinal match. The 16-year-old Gayathri Gopichand took second seed Mahoor Shahzad of Pakistan with a comfortable 21-15, 21-16 victory in the women’s singles.
Top seed Ashmita Chaliha joined Gayathri in the semi-finals thrashing Pakistani opponent Palwasha Bashir 21-9, 21-7. Aryaman Tandon followed up with another win over Ranthushka Karunathilake of Sri Lanka to reach the men’s singles semi-finals by a scoreline of 21-17, 21-17. The Indian women’s doubles pairings of Kuhoo Garg and Anoushka Parikh and Meghana Jakkampudi and S. Nelakurthi advanced to the semi-finals after triumphing against Bangladesh. Top seeds Dhruv Kapila and Jakkampudi beat Sri Lanka’s Ranthushka Karunathilake and Kavindi Sirimannage 21-14 26-24 to claim the top honours.
The performance mirrors India’s dominance at the Games, with hosts Nepal standing second with a total haul of 69 medals, including 29 gold, 15 silver, and 25 bronze.