India picked up four gold and three silver medals from the pool with three of them in record times, overcoming stiff resistance from Sri Lanka on the opening day of swimming competitions in the 12th South Asian Games here today.
Sandeep Sejwal (men’s 200m breaststroke), Shivani Kataria (women’s 200m freestyle) and 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.
As many as six Games records were set out of the eight competed today and, expectedly, Sri Lanka ran neck and neck with India by grabbing 3 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze. Pakistan won a silver while Bangladesh could win four bronze medals at the Dr Zakir Hussain Aquatic Complex here.
Sri Lanka’s Matthew Abeysinghe also stole the limelight by winning two gold medals in men’s 200m freestyle and men’s 100m butterfly. Sejwal won his pet event in 2 minute and 20.66 seconds 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 record in the morning heats with a timing of 2:12.13, bettering 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, came second and third respectively. Damini Gowda then brought home the third gold for India in women’s 100m butterfly as she clocked one minute and 4.92 seconds to finish much ahead of two Sri Lankans K A Hiruni Perera (1:06.89) and Machiko Raheem ( 1:07.24).
The Indian women’s 4x100m freestyle quartet completed the home side’s dominance by winning the relay event. They clocked 4:01.95 to better India’s own record of 4:08.72 set in the 2006 edition in Colombo. The Sri Lankan ( 4:05.07) and Pakistan (4:22.38) teams were second and third respectively.
For Sri Lanka, Matthew Abeysinghe grabbed their first gold in men’s 200m freestyle, the first final of the day, with a timing of 1:52.28. He bettered the old record of 1:59.07, which was in the name of India’s Veerdhaval Khade (2006 Colombo). India’s Saurabh Sangvekar won the silver in 1:53.03 while Mohd. Mahfizur Rahman bagged the bronze in 1:56.19.
Abeysinghe bagged his second gold of the day by winning the men’s 100m butterfly in 55.42 seconds. India’s Supriyo Mondal was second in 55.86 seconds while Cherantha de Silva of Sri Lanka was third in 56.00 seconds.
Sri Lanka begged their third gold by winning the men’s 4x100m freestyle in 3:30.11 ahead of India (3:30.78) and Bangladesh (3:39.72). Pakistan’s lone gold of day came from Lianna Catherine Swan who won the women’s 200m breaststroke in 2:48.85. Hasanthi Nugawela (2:49.17) of Sri Lanka and Romana Akter (2:49.60) of Bangladesh were second and third.