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Poncha, Khade create new SAF records, 7 more Gold in SAF swimming

Written by: Staff
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Colombo, Aug 23 (UNI) Rehan Poncha and Virdhaval Khade signed off in style with a Gold and a new SAF Games record in their kitty as Indian swimmers added seven more Gold at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium Swimming Pool here this evening.

In the 400m Individual Medley, Bangalore lad Rehan (4:37.04) made his intention clear quite early as he darted ahead right from the word go and the gap proved too big to bridge even for compatriot Arjun Jayprakash (4:48.84), who had to be satisfied with the Silver.

Rehan's timing eclipsed the previous record held by J Abhijit of India who had timed 4:42.57 in 1995.

Pakistan's Nisar Ahmed ended with the Bronze at 4:52.25.

It was a tough battle between the Indian pair of Virdhaval Khade (1:59.07) and Amar Muralidharan (1:59.23) in men's 200m freestyle but Khade had the last laugh as he outpaced his compatriot for the Gold. Sri Lankan Heshan Unamboowe finished third at 2:02.74.

Women's 200m freestyle was also a two-horse race with the Indian duo of Pooja Alva (2:14.65) and Neeraja Balakrishna (2:15.96) breathing down each other's neck before the former won. Pakistani Kiran Khan (2:18.67) finished third in the event.

Lekha Kamath, meanwhile, continues to cash in on the shallow challenge at the pool and added the 50m butterfly Gold clocking 29.71, more than two second ahead of her Pakistani and Lankan rivals.

Arjun Muralidharan (28.28) won the 50m backstroke Gold, pipping to post Bangladesh's Rubel Rana (28.40).

Sandeep Sejwal (30.46), however, had to be happy with the Silver after finishing second best as Bangladesh's Shahjahan Ali (30.43) proved marginally better than the Indian.

India also picked both the Gold in men and women 400m Medley relays.

The Indian quintet of Sandeep Nagar Anthal, Sandeep Sejwal, Arjun Muralidharan and Virdhaval Khade timed 4:00.42 for the Gold while it was was joint effort by Fariha Zaman, Tejaswini Varadaraju, Lekha Kamath and Parita Paresk that brought India Gold with a timing of 4:40.42.

The only major setback of the day came in women's 50m breaststroke with no Indian managing a podium finish.

Tejaswini Varadaraju clocked 38.20 to finish fourth, just outside the medal bracket.

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