Kerala finishes with 13 Athletics gold
A total of 34 medals was the home team’s final count from track and field, out of which 13 were gold. This was well ahead of Services’ 20 inclusive of 9 gold, and Haryana’s 14 with 4 gold.
The final day at the University stadium in Trivandrum on Friday was another fruitful day for Kerala as Olympian Tintu Luka, the favourite in the women’s 800m, did not let down the packed house as she led from the front and took the gold medal in 2:01.86 bettering the old meet mark of 2:03.08 set by K.C. Rosakutty in 1997.
Dharambir of Haryana took the sprint double, taking the 200m gold medal in 21.12s to erase the existing meet mark of 21.20 set by Ajay Raj Singh in 2001. Dutee Chand, however, was denied a sprint double by Kerala’s V. Santhini and Merlin K. Joseph who finished 1-2 and pushed the Odisha girl to the third spot.
Sajeesh Joseph gave Kerala an expected gold medal in the 800m as he sprinted past Jinson Johnson (Services) and team-mate P. Mohammed Afsal at 1:53.69. The 4x400m relay proved to be an exciting affair as Tamil Nadu edged out Kerala and Maharashtra in a close finish at 3:11.26. Kerala also took the women’s 4x400m relay easily, ahead of Karnataka and Haryana.
The home team made a clean sweep in women’s triple jump as N.V. Sheena, Amitha Baby and M.A. Prajusha finished in that order. It was only the second such clean sweep, following all 3 medals for Services in the men’s 10,000m on Thursday.
National record holder Lalita Babar (Maharashtra) won the women’s 3000m steeplechase with a new Games record of 9:42.63 as against the existing mark of 10:40.81.