Malavika, Sejwal shine

Malavika, Sejwal shine

Malavika, Sejwal shine

Teenager Malavika V and raging favourite Sandeep Sejwal shone brightly in the setting sun while Madhu PS landed a surprise gold as India were forced to share the spoils with a vastly improved Sri Lanka on the third day of the swimming competition here on Monday.

Bengaluru girl Malavika kick-started the day for the hosts on a superb note, clinching the 800M freestyle gold in Games record-breaking fashion at the Dr Zakir Hussain Aquatics Complex before MEG swimmer Madhu brought a smile on national coach Pradeep Kumar’s face with a stunning victory in the men’s 100M backstroke.

Sejwal, competing in the penultimate event of the day, then asserted his class in his 50M breast stroke with a brilliant swim to wear his third gold in his pet discipline. Sejwal had earlier won the 100M and 200M breast stroke golds as well.

India — who won three gold, four silver and two bronze on the day — though couldn’t laugh their way home completely as the Sri Lankans matched them toe-to-toe, annexing three gold, three silver and one bronze with Kimiko Raheem emerging as the star for the islanders with two victories.

With just five competitors and starting in lane four, Malavika was the odds on favourite to wear the gold in the 800M freestyle race. By the fourth lap, she easily opened up a healthy lead and at the halfway mark she was sitting pretty with a 10-second lead.
Aware that she was well ahead of her rivals, Malavika just swam a comfortable race from thereon, eventually touching the pad in a timing of 9:19.48. She thus obliterated Richa Mishra’s record of  9:31.96 set way back in 2004.

In contrast to Malavika, Madhu had his work cut out. With in-form Mathew Abeysinghe determined to add another gold to his tally, he had to make a strong start to the two-lap race and the army havaldar took off in a flash the moment the buzzer rang.

He touched the pad at the halfway stage with a healthy one second lead over Abeysinghe and then stepped on the accelerator in brutal fashion to leave his rivals behind, timing 57.94 seconds —  a new Games record — while Sethu Manickavel claimed silver and Syed Muhammed Hasseb of Pakistan settled for bronze.

DH News Service

Results: Men: 100M backstroke: PS Madhu (Ind) 57.94 (GR; Old: 59.98, HB Unamboowe, 2010) 1; Sethu Manickavel (Ind) 59.47, 2; Syed Muhammed Hasseb (Pak) 1:01.04, 3.
50M breast stroke: Sandeep Sejwal (Ind) 28.79 (GR; Old: Sandeep Sejwal, 2016) 1; Puneet Rana (Ind) 29.11, 2; Md Shajahan Ali (Ban) 30.41, 3.
400M individual medley: Mathew Abeysinghe (SL) 4:40.47, 1; Sanu Debnath (Ind) 4:40.85, 2; Haris Bandey (Pak) 4:52.50, 3.

Women: 50M freestyle: Kimiko Raheem (SL) 26.49 (GR; Old: 27.70, Lekha Kamath, 2006 & Avantika Chavan, 2016) 1; Machiko Raheem (SL) 27.40, 2; Maana Patel (Ind) 27.44, 3.
800M freestyle: Malavika V (Ind) 9:19.48 (GR; Old: 9:31.96, Richa Mishra, Ind, 2004) 1; Ishani Erandika Senanayake (SL) 9:48.62, 2; Aminath Shajan (Mal) 10.41.41, 3.

100M backstroke: Kimiko Raheem (SL) 1:03.78 (GR; Old: 1:06.60, Maana Patel, Ind, 2016) 1; Maana Patel (Ind) 1:06.00 2; Jyotsna Pansare (Ind) 1:07.31, 3. 50M breast stroke: Mahfuza Khatun (Ban) 34.88 (GR; Old: 34.97, Raheem Mayumi, 2006) 1; Hasanthi Nugawela (SL) 35.69, 2; Ramudi Samarakoon (SL) 35.99, 3.