Gaurav Baliyan and Anita Sheoran registered comfortable victories to bag gold as India completed a perfect record on the final day of the wrestling competition at the 13th South Asian Games 2019 here on Monday.
With both Baliyan (men’s 74kg) and Sheoran (women’s 68kg) claiming gold in their respective events, India achieved a unique feat with its grapplers finishing at the top of the podium in all 14 categories – seven gold each in men’s and women’s events. As per the rule, a country can participate in a maximum 14 categories out of the usual 20 weight classes.
It was a task for both Baliyan and Sheoran in their respective finals as they hardly saw any challenge from their opponents. While Sheoran, making a comeback to international circuit after 2016, took only 48 seconds to pin down her Sri Lankan opponent, young Baliyan showed great skills during his one-sided wins over opponents from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Earlier on Sunday, Sakshi Malik (62Kg), Ravinder (61kg), Anshu (59kg) and Pawan Kumar (86kg) had won gold for India.
The Indian women’s team won its third consecutive gold medal at the South Asian Games after beating Nepal 2-0 in the summit clash in Pokhara, Nepal.
Bala Devi was the star of the show again as she netted a brace to guide India to a comfortable victory over the hosts in the final. The 29-year-old striker also ended as the top-scorer of the tournament, netting five goals in four matches.
India went on the offensive from the very start, as the likes of Sangita Basfore and Ratanbala Devi dominated the proceedings from the middle of the park. Ratanbala had the first clear-cut chance for India as she lined up her shot off a Ranjana Chanu cross. However, her shot whizzed over the crossbar.
Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan, who has had a fantastic tournament, not conceding a single goal in any of the five matches, turned provider when she found Bala with a long ball upfield. The mercurial striker duly converted the chance to give India the early lead.
India had another major chance around the half-hour mark, when a Ranjana corner was headed down by captain Ashalata Devi towards Sandhiya, but the latter was flagged offside.
Aditi Chauhan made a couple of impressive saves on either side of half-time to keep India in the lead.
An intricate move was converted into a chance by Ratanbala, who played Bala through on goal as the latter finished off the chance to score her second goal of the match.
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