Brilliant Shivani scripts record in 200M freestyle

South Asian Games : Sejwal, Damini too impress on day one

Brilliant Shivani scripts record in 200M freestyle

 Indians were given a solid workout as the swimming competition got off to a cracking start at the 12th South Asian Games here on Saturday.

Unlike other disciplines where the hosts faced very little challenge, they were pushed hard at the Dr Zakir Hussain Aquatic Complex by their southern neighbours Sri Lanka. The Indians though managed to hold their own, claiming four gold medals while the Lankans won three and Pakistan grabbed one on a day when five game records tumbled.
Seasoned campaigner Sandeep Sejwal expectedly led India’s charge, dishing out a superb performance in the 200 metre breast stroke, while Shivani Kataria too produced a record-breaking swim in the women’s 200M freestyle.

Damini K Gowda triumphed in the women’s 100M butterfly and the women’s 4x100 freestyle team then unleashed a stirring show, rallying past Sri Lanka in a superb race.
The hero for Sri Lanka was Matthew Abeysinghe, the swimmer showing nerves of steel in winning the 200M freestyle and 100M butterfly gold.

In both the sprints he had his task cut out but oozed class, touching the pad in record-breaking time. Abeysinghe then played the anchor role to perfection when he helped Lankans pip India in the 4x100M freestyle relay.

Sejwal was the raging favourite in his pet event and the Delhiite obliged in style.
Emerging out of the water first after the dive, the Indian opened up a substantial lead by the first 50 metres itself and kept stretching it with each lap.

By the time he turned over for the final lap, he had a four-second lead and he asserted his supremacy, romping home in  2:20.66. Sri Lanka’s Kiran Jaisingh won silver with a timing of 2:26.17 and Md Shariful Islam settled for bronze with a timing of 2:26.99.

Made to sweat

Shivani, meanwhile, was made to sweat for her gold. At the halfway stage, she lagged Sri Lanka’s Machiko Raheem by almost a second as her hopes hung in balance.

The youngster made up solid ground over the next lap, reducing the lead to half a second before drawing level with Raheem with 25 metres to go. Both swimmers then engaged themselves in a slug-fest but Shivani found the will to score a thrilling win and in record style. Raheem settled for silver while Ishani Erandika Senanayake won bronze. Shivani then capped a superb outing in the office, playing a key role in India winning the 4x100M freestyle relay.

Results: Men: 200M freestyle: Matthew Abeysinghe (SL) 1:52.28 (GR; Old: 1:59.07, Veerdhawal Khade, Ind, 2006) 1; Saurabh Sangvekar (Ind) 1:53.03, 2; Md Mahfizur Rahman (Ban) 1:56.19, 3.

200M breast stroke: Sandeep Sejwal (Ind) 2:20.66 (GR; Old: 2:21.03, Sandeep Sejwal, 2010) 1; Kiran Jaisinghe (SL) 2:26.17, 2; Md Shariful Islam (Ban) 2:26.99, 3.

100M butterfly: Matthew Abeysinghe (SL) 55.42 (GR; Old: Supriyo Mondal, Ind, 2016) 1; Supriyo Mondal (Ind) 55.86, 2; Kt Cherantha de Silva (SL) 56.00, 3.

4x100M freestyle relay: Sri Lanka (3:30.11) (GR; Old: 3:37.41, India, 2006) 1; India (3:30.78) 2; Bangladesh (3:39.72) 3.

Women: 200M freestyle: Shivani Kataria (Ind) 2:08.68 (GR; Old: 2:12.13, Shivani Kataria, 2016) 1; Machiko Raheem (SL) 2:09.02, 2; Ishani Erandika Senanayake (SL) 2:11.63, 3.
200M breast stroke: Lianna Catherine Swan (Pak) 2:48.85, 1; Hasanthi Nugawela (SL) 2:49.17, 2; Romana Akter (Ban) 3:01.00, 3.

100M butterfly: Damini K Gowda (Ind) 1:04.92, 1; KA Hiruni Perera (SL) 1:06.89 2; Machiko Raheem (SL) 1:07.24, 3.

4x100M freestyle relay: India (4:01.95) (GR; Old: 4:08.72, India, 2006) 1; Sri Lanka (4:05.07) 2; Pakistan (4:22.38) 3.

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