SSCB reign supreme as National Games draw to a close

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Tapan Mohanta

Ranchi, Feb 26 (PTI) A Sharath Kamal and Madhurika Patkarwalked away with the last two gold medals on offer on theconcluding day but the Services Sports Control Board reignedsupreme with a whopping 70 golds as the much-delayed andcontroversy-ridden 34th National Games came to an end here.

Services topped the charts in shooting, rowing, canoeingand kayaking as they rounded up with 70 gold, 50 silver and 42bronze for a total of 162 medals to emerge overall championsfor a second time in succession.

In the previous National Games also, Services emergedtoppers with a haul of 59 gold, 46 silver and 37 bronzemedals.

Power-packed performances in wushu, cycling and fencingenabled Manipur to retain the second spot with 48-37-33.

Haryana (42-33-40) finished a creditable third riding ona spectacular show by their wrestlers who earned the state 14gold medals.

They also topped the boxing competition claiming sevengold medals along with Jharkhand, something that ensured thatthe host state finished the Games at a commendable fifth placewith a haul of 33-26-37.

Jharkhand ruled the roost in lawn bowls and taekwondowhere they bagged four gold medals each.

With 13 gold from swimming, Maharashtra edged out Delhias they ended on fourth spot with 41-44-47.

In terms of individual brilliance, swimmer Richa Mishrawon the highest -- 16 medals including 11 gold -- as herspectacular show helped Delhi conclude their campaign with32-26-41 on sixth position.

Coming back after a doping controversy ahead of lastyear''s Commonwealth Games, the 27-year-old showed tremendousresilience as he competed in all the 17 individual swimmingcompetitions, winning 11 of them.

Richa came very close to breaking Nisha Millet''s feat of11 gold medals in Manipur Games (1999) but in the end she hadto be content with an equal number of titles.

Poster-boy of Indian swimming, Virdhawal Khade was notfar behind as he grabbed eight gold medals, all of them withGames record timings, two silver and an equal number of bronzethat helped Maharashtra''s cause immensely.

Swimming arena witnessed the rise of Gagan A P as theKarnataka long distance swimmer showed utmost endurancewinning six gold medals, beside pocketing two silver.

There were also excellent performances from Manipur''s ChRameshori Devi (cycling), Kerala girl Simimol (canoeing andkayaking), Dipa Karmakar representing Tripura in gymnasticsand Services'' Sanjeev Rajput (shooting) who returned with fivegold medals each.

The Games also sprang some heart-breaking upsets thatmeant the rise of upcoming stars. More PTI TAP PVR BS PM

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