Brilliant Karnataka unstoppable again

Brilliant Karnataka unstoppable again

Aquatics National Championship:Champions reign supreme for 22nd year in a row

Under steady drizzle and fading light, Karnataka swimmers celebrated their title defence that came after a hard-fought battle in the 66th Senior National Aquatic championships at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Friday.

It was Karnataka’s 22nd consecutive triumph, with the run starting way back in 1991 at Thrissur. The defending champions survived a scare here before claiming the crown with 272 points, beating hosts Maharashtra (214).

The State also topped the medals tally with 13 gold, 13 silver and 8 bronze medals while
Maharashtra bagged 12 gold, 7 silver and 11 bronze.

Karnataka’s struggle this year was mainly due to lack of quality swimmers in the women’s section where they lost the team championship to the hosts.

Virdhawal Khade, who pocketed the 50M, 100M and 200M freestyle, 50M and 100M butterfly titles, took home his first best male swimmer award while Richa Mishra clinched the top honours in the women’s section for the seventh successive time and tenth overall.

“The crowd was very supportive here. I have always enjoyed competing in Pune,” said Virdhawal, who timed 50.53 seconds in the 100M freestyle to go under the 2013 Barcelona World Championship ‘B’ Standard qualifying time of 50.64.

In the process, Virdhawal also broke the meet mark while Priyanka Priydrshni, who posted 1:16.76, bettered the meet record in the women’s 100M breaststroke.
Richa won the 1500M, 800M, 400M freestyle, 200M backstroke and 400M individual medley crowns.

Aaron D’Souza (200M butterfly, 2:01.47), Pooja R Alva (200M butterfly) and Saurabh Sangvekar (1500M freestyle) won titles for Karnataka on the concluding day. Pooja, along with some of her team-mates, had to rush to the airport to take the flight to Kolkata to compee in the final two days’ events in the All India inter-university championship.

Pooja touched the wall in 2:24.03 for the gold, leaving behind Rujuta Bhatt of Maharashtra, who won the silver in 2:25.75. Karnataka’s Damini K Gowda pocketed bronze, clocking 2:26.41. It was the 13-year-old Damini’s maiden medal in Senior Nationals.

“I am extremely happy. Winning a medal in the Senior meet needs a lot of effort. What I learned was, keep trying,” said Damini, who won four gold — 50, 100, 200 fly and 100 backstroke — in Group II category at this year’s Junior Nationals.

Saurabh posted 15:55.81 to beat team-mate Gagan AP, who timed 16:09.25 for the silver, in the challenging 30-lap event. “I was trying to go under the World Championship ‘B’ standard time. I was tired and couldn’t go all out in the final 200 metres,” said Saurabh.

Gagan and Saurabh went neck and neck but the Olympian had a slight edge until the 700-metre mark. Gagan touched the 700-metre mark in 7:12.95, a narrow 0.03 seconds ahead of Saurabh.

The duo who trains at the Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre in Bangalore then took turns to take the lead. But after the 1200-metre turn, Saurabh sped away from his rival to pocket his third gold.

Results: Men: 100M freestyle: Virdhawal Khade (Mah) 50.53 seconds. New Meet Record (Old: 51.15, Aaron D'souza, Karnataka, Ranchi 2011) 1; Aaron D' Souza (Kar) 51.26, 2; Anshul Kothari (Guj) 53.30, 3. 1500M freestyle: Saurabh Sangvekar (Kar) 15:55.81, 1; Gagan A P (Kar) 16:09.25, 2; Mandar A Divase (Pol) 16:43.59, 3. 200M butterfly: Aaron D' Souza (Kar) 2:01.47, 1; Sajan Prakash (RSPB) 2:03.79, 2; Vishnu KM (SSCB) 2:07.65, 3. 100M breaststroke: Sandeep Sejwal (RSPB) 1:03.10, 1; Puneet Rana (Pol) 1:05.07, 2; Anoop Augustine (RSPB) 1:06.24, 3.

Women: 100M freestyle: Talasha Prabhu (Goa) 59.71, 1; Aditi Dhumatkar (Mah) 1:00.04, 2; Shivani Kataria (Har) 1:00.13, 3.

200M butterfly: Pooja R Alva (Kar) 2:24.03, 1; Rujuta Bhatt (Mah) 2:25.75, 2; Damini K Gowda (Kar) 2:26.41, 3.

100M breaststroke: Priyanka Priydrshni (Delhi) 1:16.76. NMR (Old: 1:18.55, M Raghavi, Tamil Nadu, Ranchi 2011) 1; AV Jayaveena (TN) 1:18.51. BMR, 2; Monique Gandhi (Mah) 1:18.71, 3.

Special awards: Overall championship: Karnataka (272 points).
Team championship: Men: Karnataka (150 points). Women: Maharashtra (157).
Best swimmer: Men: Virdhawal Khade (Mah, 35 points). Women: Richa Mishra (Pol, 35).
Diving: Team championship: Men: SSCB (29 points). Women: RSPB (21).
Water polo: Men: Final: SSCB bt RSPB 7-5. Third place match: Maharashtra bt Police 8-7.
Women: Final: Kerala bt Bengal 3-0. Third place match: Maharashtra bt Police 3-1.

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