Led by stupendous performances by athletes across all domains, India concluded its campaign at the 13th South Asian Games with the highest-ever medal tally in the history of the event. India clinched a whopping 312 medals, including 174 gold, 93 silver, and 45 bronze medals, surpassing the 309 (189 gold, 90 silver, and 30 bronze) it had won in the previous edition in Guwahati and Shillong in 2016.
The Indian athletes left hosts Nepal far behind who stood a distant second with 206 medals (51 gold, 60 silver, and 95 bronze) while Sri Lanka was third with 251 medals (40 gold, 83 silver, and 128 bronze). India has topped the medal tally of every South Asian Games since its inception in 1984 and this year is no exception.
"India sets new record! India ends the #SouthAsianGames with a new medal record as they reach 312 medals, one more than their tally in 2016. India won 172 golds, 93 silver, and 45 bronze medals. Many congratulations to all the athletes for the fantastic feat. #SAG2019 #TeamIndia,” read a congratulatory tweet by @SAIMedia.
On the final day, India added 18 medals (15 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze) with the boxers fetching six gold and 1 silver. Indian cagers also fetched both the men’s and women’s basketball gold by defeating Sri Lanka (101-62) and hosts Nepal (127-46) in their respective summit clashes. In squash, India won a gold and a silver in the women’s and men’s team events respectively.
The day clearly belonged to the Indian boxers who brought home a rich haul of 12 gold, 3 silver, and 1 bronze. Reigning Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Vikas Krishan (men’s 69kg) and 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Pinki Rani (women’s 51kg) guided India to six more gold medals. From among men, Sparsh Kumar (52kg), Narender (+91kg) were the other boxers who bagged the yellow metal while Sonia Lather (57kg) and Manju Bamboriya (64kg) contributed to India’s gold medal tally among women.
Vikas, who won a bronze at the 2018 Asian Games, completed his comeback in style with a resounding 5-0 win over Pakistan’s Gul Zaib in men’s 69kg. In the men’s superheavyweight (+91kg) category, Narender too was equally impressive as he cruised to a 5-0 victory over Nepal’s Ashish Duwadi.
Sparsh Kumar (men’s 52kg) was made to work hard for the gold by Pakistan’s Syed Muhammad Asif. After a slow start, the Indian found his rhythm and landed a flurry of punches to emerge a 4-1 winner. Varinder Singh (60kg) was the only one to suffer a defeat on the final day of the competitions. Nepal’s Sanil Shahi refused to break down in a gruelling bout that saw both the boxers fighting tooth and nail. Shahi eventually edged the Indian 3-2 to take the gold.
All the women boxers in action won a gold. Former World Championships silver medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) hardly broke a sweat and easily dominated her final bout against Sri Lanka’s Krismi Ayoma Dulanj Lankapurayalage 5-0 to finish on the top podium. Pinki Rani (51kg) and Manju Bamboriya (64kg) both displayed tremendous fighting spirit and resilience to bag the gold in hard-fought encounters. While Rani beat Nepal’s Rai Mala 3-2, Bamboriya defeated another Nepalese opponent Punam Rawal by the same verdict.