Amlan Borgohain Fastest Man, Jyothi Yarraji Fastest Woman 

Harpal Singh Bedi 

Gandhinagar: Assam sprinterAmlan Borgohain and Andhra’s  Jyothi Yarraji  emerged fastest man  and woman respectively  of the 36th National Games here  on Saturday

The 23-year-old from Assam stopped the clock at 10.38s at the IIT Gandhinagar athletics track to clinch the  100m gold and win the mantle of the fastest man.

36th National Games

The current National Record holder had registered a timing of 10.28s in the semifinals and though he could not improve on that performance he was more than happy. “You know, it’s like a stage show, sometimes you perform, sometimes you don’t,” he said

A few minutes later, Andhra Pradesh’s Jyothi Yarraji stunned a star-studded field, including Dutee Chand and Hima Das, to win Women’s 100m gold in a thrilling race.

 “In those few seconds, there is no time to think. You simply focus on executing your game plan,” he explained, revealing that the only thing he concentrated on was his posture.” Amlan said

He said the hot conditions didn’t enter his mind even once. “I don’t think about it much. It is the same for everyone, isn’t it? In the All-India Railway competition, I ran at 2 PM in similar weather conditions and clocked 10.25 seconds. So, I am experienced in this kind of weather,” he smiled.

Incidentally, he had broken the National Record in Rae Bareli that time and feels that his performance may inspire many youngsters to take up athletics in the North East. “We have many footballers, weightlifters and boxers and now we are not so bad in athletics either,” he said.

 Asked how much faster he could go in the coming years, he refused to spell out his target and insisted that sky was the limit for him. “I don’t put limits on myself. I just work hard and wherever God takes me, I go. If it comes, it comes. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter,” he added.

 Jyothi Yarraji  who clocked 11.51 seconds, to emerge as the Fastest Woman at the Games said that she was very relaxed ahead of the race and delighted with her victory.

“I didn’t come here thinking of winning or losing. I just wanted to give a good timing and that helped me come up with my fastest race,” Jyothi  said.

She appreciated the role played by star sprinters Dutee Chand (Odisha) and Hima Das (Assam). “They have always encouraged me and I thank them for their support. I am just happy that I won and don’t think on the lines that I beat them,” she explained, when asked if it was a special feeling to go past the stars.

Archana Suseendran (Tamil Nadu) and Diandra Valladares (Maharashtra) won the silver and bronze in the blue riband event of the day.

Shooters Ramita and Arshdeep help swell Haryana’s golden haul to double  figures

Harpal  Singh Bedi

Shooters Ramita and Arshdeep Singh  defeated  fancied Madhya Pradesh pair  of Shreya Agarwal and APS Tomar  17-9 in the mixed team 10m Air Rifle final  to raise  Haryana’s collection of gold medals in the 36th National Games  here on Saturday.

The 18-year-old Ramita and Arshdeep Singh, 26, made the  title match appear pretty one-sided  beliying  expectations of a close contest after the Madhya Pradesh team had topped qualification 0.2 points ahead of Haryana. 

It was Haryana’s second gold in Shooting competition and helped the State’s gold medal haul touch double figures.

Uttar Pradesh climbed to the second spot on the medal chart by winning both the men and women’s 5000m races at IIT Gandhinagar through Abhishek Pal and Parul Chaudhary. Meanwhile, Services got in the frame with Subhash Lahre’s gold in the men’s 67kg class weightlifting competition at Mahatma Mandir Complex. 

Abhishek Pal and Parul Chaudhary had both secured a fifth-place finish in the 2015 National Games but they asserted their superiority over the rest of the field to claim gold medals. Abhishek Pal won in 14:07.25s, beating two Services runners, Karitk Kumar and Sawan Barwal, as well as the defending champion G Lakshmanan.

Parul Chaudhary was pleased that she could win her maiden National Games gold despite not having not done much speed work in training since the World Athletics Championships in July this year. She stayed close to the leaders and produced a kick that brooked no response from others. Parul Chaudhary won in 16:34.68.

In the absence of Commonwealth Games Weightlifting gold medallist Jeremy Lalrinnunga, Subhash Lahre, who hails from Chhattisgarh, picked up gold with total lifts of 275kg. K Neelam Raju (Andhra Pradesh) and Sushant Sahu (Odisha) had identical total lifts of 270kg, but the former won silver due to his lighter bodyweight.

Neelam Raju sought to put Subhash Lahre under pressure by attempting a 153kg Clean and Jerk but he failed in his pursuit. He then had to endure a tense wait to be assured of silver medal as Sushant Sahu tried to change his place on the podium. However, since the Odia lifter was unable to clear his attempt to lift 154kg, Neelam Raju could heave a sigh of relief and take silver.

Jeremy Lalrinnunga’s friend and Mizoram team-mate Jacob Vanlaltluanga, who also started his career at the Army Sports Institute in Pune, could have provided a good challenge. But he did not look in his elements , managing only one legal lift of 120kgs in Snatch and finishing with three no-lifts in Clean and Jerk.

Results (finals):

Athletics

Men

5000m:  1. Abhishek Pal (Uttar Pradesh) 14:07.25; 2. Kartik Kumar (Services) 14:08.24; 3. Sawan Barwal (Services) 14:10.53.

Women

5000m: 1. Parul Chaudhary (Uttar Pradesh) 16:34.68; 2. Seema (Himachal Pradesh) 16:36.18; 3. Sanjivani Jadhav (Maharashtra) 16:39.97.

Shooting

Mixed Team 10m Air Rifle: Haryana (Arshdeep Singh, Ramita) beat Madhya Pradesh (Shreya Agarwal, Aishawary Pratap Singh Tomar) 17-9. Bronze medal play-offs: Tamil Nadu (R Narmadha Nithin, Sri Karthik Sabari Raj) beat Punjab (Samiksha Dhingra, Arjun Babuta) 16-12 and Rajasthan (Nisha Kanwar, Divyansh Singh Panwar) beat Uttar Pradesh (Shreya Saksena, Vidit Jain) 16-8.

Weightlifting

Men’s 67kg class: 1. Subhash Lahre (Services) Snatch 121kg, Clean & Jerk 154kg, Total 275kg; 2. K Neelam Raju (Andhra Pradesh) 124, 146, 270; 3. Sushant Sahu (Odisha) 119, 151, 270.

Friday’s results:

Gymnastics

Women’s Team: 1. West Bengal 182.75 points; 2. Delhi 167.2; 3. Maharashtra 163.6

Desperately wanted to be part of the National Games:  Wrestler Bajrang Punia

Harpal  Singh Bedi

A freak head injury, at the World Championships in Belgrade, ended Bajrang Punia’s chances of participating in the ongoing 36th National Games here.

 Still  the ace grappler made an appearance at the wrestling arena in Mahatma Mandir  on Saturday, as a guest.

“The National Games is the only tournament which I haven’t participated till now. I have been part of many international tournaments, but miss being a part of the National Games. In 2015, I was training in the US and couldn’t be a part, and this time around, the stitches on my head didn’t heal on time,” he said.

“After the World Championship, there was very little time to recover. I desperately wanted to be a part of the Games here,” he informed.

The ace wrestler  was  impressed with the efforts put in by the organisers of the  saying that the standard here matches the international tournaments, he has been a part of.

“Congratulations to Gujarat for grabbing the opportunity to host the National Games with both hands. At the same time, I appreciate the Prime Minister’s effort and his keen interest in sports due to which he came to launch the Games,” he said.

The Asian Games gold medallist  was of the view  that the National Games will provide the right platform for upcoming players to showcase their talent.

“For the younger players participating in the Games, I believe this will boost their confidence and give them a feel of the international exposure. Even the hotels and the food they are being served is very impressive,” he said.

On the personal front, Bajrang said that the stitches on his head have healed and he is back to training as preparations for the next Olympic cycle starts for the four-time World Championship medallist.

“The injury has gradually healed, and I’m back in training. There are no major immediate tournaments but in 2023, we have the Pro Wrestling League, Asian Championship, World Championship and the Asian Games. The qualifications for the Paris Olympics will start at the Worlds, and the focus has now shifted towards the Olympic cycle,” . “We will be training mostly in India for the next one month or so, before deciding on exposure trips, it could be Russia or the US,” he added.