Seven-star show by swimmers

Sangvekar, Madhu, Sajan, Malavika and Damini produce spectacular shows

Seven-star show by swimmers

Indian swimmers finally flexed their muscles in mighty fashion, nearly sweeping everything before them on a cloudy and dark Tuesday evening at the 12th South Asian Games.

Forced to share the spoils with the much-improved Sri Lankans over the last three days at the Dr Zakir Hussain Aquatic Complex, the hosts came to the party on the penultimate day of the swimming competition, capturing seven gold out of the eight on offer.

Saurabh Sangvekar (400M freestyle), PS Madhu (50M backstroke), Sajan Prakash (200M butterfly), Malavika V (400M freestyle) and Damini K Gowda (200M butterfly) were the individual gold medal winners while the hosts romped home in the two relays as well —  men’s and women’s 4x200M freestyle — to strengthen their position at the top of the medals tally. What left the Indians a happy lot was all of them were won in record-breaking fashion.

The only disappointment for the Indians came in the 50M backstroke with teenager Maana Patel being outdone for a third time in her pet discipline by the fast-rising Sri Lankan Kimiko Raheem.

 The highlight of the day was the men’s 4x200M relay. Expected to face a strong challenge from Sri Lanka, India produced a dominating display to win the gold my a mile. Having already claimed a gold in the day’s opening race, a confident Sangvekar kick-started the hosts’ mission with a fine swim to hand a two-second lead to Raj Bhanvadia.

The Gujarati then extended that advantage to six seconds at the halfway stage after which it was just a foregone conclusion with the only point of interest being by how many seconds would India obliterate its own record set in 2004.

Neil Contractor and Sajan Prakash then climaxed a job well begun in equally good fashion, with the latter touching the pad in 7:43.42, erasing the record of 8:05.76.

The women’s 4x200M freestyle relay team too came up with a crushing performance. Shraddha Sudhir trailed after the opening leg but Damini swam a superb second leg, handing charge to Malavika with an eight second lead.

Malavika and Shivani Kataria then made no mistake as the Indians touched the pad in 8:55.98, erasing the record of 9:48.04 set by their compatriots in 2004 by a whopping margin.

DH News Service

Results: Men: 400M freestyle: Saurabh Sangvekar (Ind) 3:58.84 (GR; Old: 4:04.35, Gagan AP, 2010) 1; Sajan Prakash (Ind) 4:03.79, 2; Kyle Abeysingh (SL) 4:11.07, 3. 50M backstroke: PS Madhu (Ind) 26.86 seconds (GR; Old: 27.63, MB Balakrishnan, 2010) 1; Arvind M (Ind) 30.06, 2; Matthew Abeysinghe (SL) 31.95, 3.

200M butterfly: Sajan Prakash (Ind) 2:03.02 (GR; Old: 2:05.06, Murlidharan Arjun, 2006) 1; KT Cherantha De Silva (SL) 2:11.10, 2; Md Juwel Ahmed (Ban) 2:13.02, 3. 4x200M freestyle relay: India (7:43.42) (GR; Old: 8:05.76, India, 2004) 1; Sri Lanka (7:58.99) 2; Bangladesh (8:31.08) 3.

Women: 400M freestyle: Malavika V (Ind) 4:30.08 (GR; Old: 4:36.08, Vaidyanathan S, 2004) 1; Shivani Kataria (Ind) 4:38.43, 2; Gaurika Singh (Nep) 4:40.93, 3.

50M backstroke: Kimiko Raheem (SL) 29.75 (GR; Old: 31.08, Maana Patel, 2016) 1; Maana Patel (Ind) 30.06, 2; Bisma Khan (Pak) 31.95, 3.

200M butterfly: Damini K Gowda (Ind) 2:21.12 (GR; Old: 2:23.65, Richa Mishra,  2004) 1; Ridmi Rankothge (SL) 2:39.10, 2; Sonia Aktar (Pak) 2:45.17, 3. 4x200M freestyle relay: India (8:55.98)  (GR; Old: 9:12.68, India, 2004) 1; Sri Lanka (9:26.47) 2; Pakistan (9:48.04) 3.

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