Image Credits: KIUG
A four-gold medal haul at the swimming pool helped Jain University, Bengaluru, take the early lead in the inaugural Khelo India University Games.
Guru Nanak Dev University’s (Amritsar) fencing squad claimed three gold to be on the second spot on a day when fencer Riya Bakshi of Cluster University, Jammu, won the first gold medal on offer.
SV Nikitha was the toast of Jain University, winning the women’s 400m Freestyle gold with nearly 5 minutes to spare and then anchoring the 4x200m Freestyle relay team to a handsome victory over Delhi University and University of Mumbai. Siva Sridhar (men’s 400m Freestyle) and SP Likith (men’s 200m Breaststroke) were the other gold diggers for Jain University.
At the fencing arena, left-handed Riya Bakshi stayed focused through her Foil final against the gritty Kajal of Panjab University, Chandigarh. The awareness that they were fighting for the first gold medal in the Games did bring in a touch of pressure, too. But Riya Bakshi did not let either that or her respect for her friend come in the way as she pressed on to a 15-11 win.
Fans of fencing witnessed gilt-edge contests in the men’s Foil and women’s Epee finals. Tushar Raosaheb Aheer (Dr. BR Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad) rallied to beat Tariq Hussain (Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar) 15-14 after a duel in which it was apparent that his rival was hampered by a ligament tear suffered earlier. Tushar Aheer also had a hand in the team’s gold later in the day.
The women’s Epee bout saw Jyotika Dutta (Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar) script a similar turnaround against Manipur University’s Linthoi Haobam. The duellists were locked in a close battle much of the time until Linthoi Haobam capitalised on a sharp chance to inch close to victory. But pint-sized Jyotika Dutta stayed calm and managed successive touches to edge home the winner.
There was heartbreak for the top-ranked women Compound archer Muskan Kirar at the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences. She was in top form through the ranking round on Saturday and in the first two rounds on Sunday and looked good to win the quarterfinal against University of Rajasthan’s Kritika Sharma before missing an arrow and bowing out 136-144.
Kritika Sharma did not waste the opportunity and went on to scalp Babita Kumari (Ranchi University) 144-140 in the semifinals. She will meet Muskan Kirar’s Rani Durgawati Vishwavidyala’s team-mate Raginee Marko for the gold medal on Tuesday. Raginee survived a tense quarterfinal against Sakshi Vaidwan (Lovely Professional University), winning 138-136.
The top-ranked Sangampreet Singh Bisla, breezed into the men’s final, overcoming the first serious challenge by his Punjabi University team-mate Sukhminder Singh with a 147-145 win in the semifinals. He will meet second-ranked Mukul Sharma (University of Rajasthan) in the final. He is in line to win a triple gold, being part of the men’s team and mixed teams too.