Olympian swimmer Srihari Nataraj on Thursday claimed three gold medals as hosts Jain University dominated the pool by winning as many as 14 yellow metals at the ongoing Khelo India University Games (KIUG).
Nataraj, representing Jain University, won the 100m freestyle, 50m backstroke and 4x200m freestyle relay, setting new KIUG records in all the events. Nataraj won the 100m freestyle in 50.98 seconds, bettering the 53.01s set by Rudransh Mishra in the 2020 edition. The silver and bronze were bagged by Heer Shah (University of Mumbai) 52.78s and Adhithya Dinesh (Anna University) 52.79s respectively.
In the 50m backstroke, Nataraj clocked 26.10s. The silver and bronze went to Siva Sridhar (Jain University) 27.10s and Siddhant Sejwal (Panjab University) 27.69s. Nataraj then teamed up with Sanjay Jayakrishnan, Siva Sridhar and Raj Relekar to clinch the 4x200m freestyle relay for Jain University with a new record timing of 8:06.87s. Savitribai Phule Pune University won the silver clocking 8:22.17s while University of Mumbai bagged the bronze with a timing of 8:28.57s.
The 100m backstroke event was won by Danush Suresh of Anna University (1:03.36s) while the silver and bronze went to Jay Ekbote of University of Mumbai (1:06.33s) and Kritayush Singh of Adamas University (1:07.16s). Jain University's Siva Sridhar was the undoubted star in the pool, having won seven gold and two silver medals.
In archery, there was a deluge of upsets on the opening day. First to fall was Muskan Kirar of Rani Durgavati Vishwavidyalaya in the compound women's singles. Kirar had topped the qualification round, but failed to get going, falling to the last place qualifier Sneh Rani of Guru Nanak Dev University 135-139. Rani was knocked out in the very next round by Punjabi University's Sujata.
Last year's silver medallist Raginee Markoo progressed steadily only to fall in the semi-finals herself. Kirar's teammate, Markoo lost to Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University's Madhura Dhamangaonkar 140-146. The upsets rolled on in the men's compound event too as Punjabi University's top seed Kulwinder Singh lost to Shivaji University's Kunal Shinde 141-143 in the first round.
A total of 25 boxing medals (12 women, 13 men) were decided on Thursday. In the women's competition 26 different universities won a medal, with 11 different universities winning gold in the 12 weight categories. Five of the 11 are from Haryana. The men's event was no different with 11 universities dividing up the 13 categories (Lovely Professional University won three gold). There will be 10 medals up for grabs on day six at the KIUG, six in judo and four in shooting.