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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 7 Ace pistol shooter Vijay Kumar notched up a golden double for the second time to end his campaign with a rich haul of five gold medals, while Asian Games bronze-winning swimmer Sandeep Sejwal signed off with four yellow metals on day seven of the 35th National Games here in the southern Indian city on Saturday. Also Read - Sachin Tendulkar heaps praise on top Athletes in 35th National Games
In the overall scheme of things, however, the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) remained on course for a hat-trick of titles. Dominating the Games in almost all disciplines, SSCB have accumulated 42 gold, 12 silver and 13 bronze medals to total 67. A distant second on the table is Maharashtra (80) with 26 gold, 34 silver and 26 bronze medals. Haryana held the third spot with 26 gold, 18 silver and seven bronze. Also Read - National Games 2015: Preeja Sreedharan to retire post Games for more family time
At the shooting range here, Vijay stood head and shoulders above competition to bag both the team and the individual gold medals in the 25m rapid fire pistol. In the team event, the London Olympics silver-medallist combined with Pemba Tamang and Gurpreet Singh to clinch the gold for SSCB with a total score of 1761. Following SSCB were Haryana with a score of 1691 through the troika of Harpreet Singh, Rahul Panwar and Wazeer Singh Rathee.
The bronze medal went to the western Indian state Maharashtra threesome of Shivraj Sase, Ronak Pandit and Akshay Ashtaputre, who tallied 1682. Vijay then showed his class in the individual round as well, refusing to be distracted by the brief halt in the proceedings caused by a glitch in the scoring system. He held his nerve to walk away with the top honours in a shoot-off with Punjab’s Harpreet Singh, who took the silver with a tally of 23 against Vijay’s 28. Maharashtra’s Shivraj Sase settled for the bronze medal with a score of 19.
“After the London Olympics I was told several times that 25m rapid fire belongs to me, I am glad that I could live upto these expectations. Injuries have affected me badly but I am glad to have done so well here. Shoot offs are common in this event and I am just so happy to be back in reckoning after an injury layoff. I was trying to ensure than I stuck to my technique and it got me the desired results,” Vijay said after his triumph.
“I am now targetting good performances in the World Cups later this year and this is a huge boost to my confidence after the setback of injuries that I faced after London Olympics,” added the Army man. Vijay finished a fantastic campaign after emerging on top in both the team and individual competitions of 25m centre fire pistol and fetching a gold (team) and bronze (individual) in 25m standard pistol.
In the women’s 10m air pistol, Punjab dominated by getting both the team and individual gold medals. Harveen Sarao, the rising Malaika Goel, and Heena Sidhu fetched the team gold with a score of 1139. The Haryana (1130) team of Annu Raj Singh, Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Shweta Singh clinched the silver medal ahead of the Uttar Pradesh (1123) combination of Aakanksha Bansal, Deepika Patel and Shakshi Dagar.
Sidhu then ensured a double delight for her state by clinching the individual gold with a score of 200.8. Following her at the second place was her teammate Malaika Goel (196.5) and Haryana’s Annuraj (177). In the skeet competition in Thrissur, Telangana’s Rashmee Rathore won the gold medal in the women’s competition by shooting a score of 63. Chattisgarh’s Saniya Sheikh (63) picked up the silver followed by Rajasthan’s Maheshwari Chauhan (59).
Overall, SSCB dominated the shooting range, walking way with 15 gold, four silver and six bronze in all to finish on top at the end of the shooting competition. At the aquatics centre here, Sejwal showed scintillating form as he smashed the meet record — set by him — to freeze the clock at 1:02.3sec and clinch the men’s 100m breaststroke gold medal. Haryana’s Puneet Rana (1:04.16sec) and local favourite Anoop Augustine (1:04.55sec) ended with the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
The women’s 100m breaststroke gold was surprisingly clinched by Chandigarh’s Chahat Arora (1:17.48sec), beating the challenge posed by the favourite from Maharashtra Monique Gandhi, who had to be content with a silver after clocking 1:17.94sec. The bronze went to Tamil Nadu’s A V Jayaveena (1:17.94sec).
In the women’s 100m freestyle race, Haryana’s Shivani Kataria picked up her second gold medal of the Games with a new meet record of 58.34sec. Maharashtra’s Aditi Dhumatkar also breached the one-minute mark to clock 59.34sec and clinch the silver, followed by Goa’s Talasha Prabhu (1:00.13sec).