Asian Games medallist Tintu Luka ruled the track on the final day of competitions of the National Games as she smashed an 18-year-old meet record to win the 800m gold. She later played a crucial role in Kerala winning the gold medal in 4x400m relay race.
In the overall medals tally, Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) notched up a hat-trick of overall titles by finishing atop medals table. SSCB led the tally on account of a higher number of gold medals and emerged as the overall champions with 158 medals (91 gold, 32 silver and 35 bronze), followed by hosts Kerala, who rode on a strong athletics performance to total 161 (54 gold, 46 silver and 61 bronze) and Haryana (39 gold, 40 silver and 27 bronze).
On the final day of competitions, vociferous home supporters filled the athletics ground and Tintu’s star turn made their day. Protege of the legendary PT Usha and an outright favourite before the 800m race, Tintu lived up to the top billing as she freezed the clock at 2:01.86sec to win the gold and better the 2:03:08sec mark created by KC Rosa Kutty way back in 1997. Tamil Nadu’s Gomathi Marimuthu was a distant second with a timing of 2:05.09sec, while Sini Markose won the bronze, clocking 2:06.37sec.
“I am very happy because I have broken the meet record. It was a good race for me. I am lucky to have a coach Like PT Usha. I would like to thank her for getting me so far,” Tintu, an Asian Games gold-medallist in the 4x400m relay event and a silver-winner in the 800m, said after the race.
Asian Games bronze-medallist Lalita Babar also lived upto the favourite tag as she breached the meet record to clinch the 3000m women’s steeplechase gold with a timing of 9:42.63sec — a massive improvement on the previous mark of 10:40.81sec set in the last edition of the Games by Priyanka Singh Patel. Babar, representing Maharashtra, is also the national record holder in this event, which currently stands at 9:35.37sec.
BI units demand SGM
Miffed with Boxing India’s threat to ban boxers who participated in the ongoing National Games, the state units who defied the diktat have demanded that a special general body meeting be called to discuss the matter even as BI remained steadfast on its stand.
Meanwhile, Vipin Kumar, representing West Bengal, emerged as the new 56kg bantamweight champion after his rival, SSCB’s Durga Rao Vankala, was forced out midway through the bout owing to an injury. But SSCB took the 52kg gold as Sandeep thrashed Punjab’s Jatinder Singh 26-10 in the final. Kerala’s Sandeep Chhikara defeated SSCB’s Narender Berwal 18-9 in the +91kg final to grab the gold medal. Devanshu Jaiswal won the 81kg gold after out-punching Haryana’s Surender Singh 20-10. Andhra’s Shyam Kumar Kakara won the 49kg gold after beating Haryana’s Amit Singh 21-18. Manipur walked away with the 64kg gold through Thomas Meitei, who got the better of Delhi’s Dinesh Dagar 20-15.