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India starts golden run at South Asian Games, on top in medals tally

It was gold rush for India on the opening day of the South Asian Games with the country’s wrestlers, swimmers and weightlifters showing their regional dominance by making a near clean sweep of top honours here today.

India clinched 14 gold, and five silver medals on a highly productive day to top the medals tally with an overall count of 19. Sri Lanka, despite having a higher overall medal count of 21, occupied the second spot in the table owing to a lesser tally of gold medals (4).

Wrestlers were the stars for India, grabbing as many as five gold medals followed by the swimmers who clinched four gold and three silver medals .

The weightlifters added three gold medals to the tally after the cyclists had opened India’s account with two gold and an equal number of silver medals in the morning.

Three women and two male grapplers finished on top of the podium as the proceedings went on expected lines on the opening day of the competitions.

Rajneesh and Ravinder bagged the gold in Men’s 65kg and 57kg divisions respectively. In women’s wrestling, Priyanka Singh claimed the top position in 48kg, while Manisha won the gold in 60kg and Archana Tomar clinched the yellow metal in 55kg categories.

The Indians created quite a splash in the pool as well picking up three of their four gold medals by clocking record times.

Asian Games bronze-medallist Sandeep Sejwal (men’s 200m breaststroke), Shivani Kataria (women’s 200m freestyle) and the women’s 100m freestyle relay team set new Games record timings on their way to gold while Damini Gowda added another yellow metal in women’s 100m butterfly.

Sejwal won his pet event in 2:20.66sec to better his own record of 2:21.03 which he had set in the last edition in Dhaka in 2010 and defended his title. Kiran Jasinghe of Sri Lanka and Mohd Shariful Islam came second and third in 2:26.17 and 2:26.99 respectively.

In women’s 200m freestyle, Kataria first set a new Games record in the morning heats with a timing of 2:12.13 and she bettered it in the evening with an effort of 2:08.68 on her way to gold. Machiko Raheem and Ishani Erandika Senanayake, both from Sri Lanka, were second and third respectively.