Sajan Prakash, other multiple gold winners made the Games special
Kerala’s aquatics hero Sajan Prakash headed a list of 36 athletes, including 21 men and 15 women, who won three or more gold medals at these Games.
Sajan bagged 6 gold (all of Kerala’s gold in swimming) and 2 silver medals. His forte was the longer distance freestyle, winning 400, 800 and 1500m, and the shorter butterfly 100 and 200m. He also won the 4x100 freestyle relay. The 21-year old Idukki born swimmer, who works with Indian Railways at Bangalore, has qualified for the World Championships in Russia in July and his dream is to make a mark at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
17-year old Aakanksha Vora of Maharashtra took home 5 gold and 1 silver from the pool. Like Sajan, her strength was also in 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle. She also was part of the winning relay teams in 4x100 and 4x200 frestyle. Her silver came in 400m Individual medley.
Two other women, Rajino Kiro of Andamans & Nicobar and Inaocha Devi Mayanglambam of Madhya Pradesh, both of whom competed in Canoeing & Kayaking, also claimed 5 gold medals and 1 silver medal. Kiro, 30, is a kayak specialist, while Devi, just 17 years of age, is a very promising canoeist.
Pistol shooters Vijay Kumar, a medallist in 25m rapid fire at the London Olympics, and Gurpreeth Singh, both of SSCB, won 5 gold medals each. Services dominated Pistol/Rifle shooting and stood first in 15 of the 17 medal events.
Dipa Karmakar, the 21-year old gymnast from Tripura, also recorded a haul of 5 gold medals.
Swimmers Madhu P.S from SSCB, Richa Mishra of Madhya Pradesh, Dhumakar Aditi of Maharashtra and Sandeep Sejwal of Madhya Pradesh won 4 gold medals each. Backstroke specialist Madhu won the 200m Individual medley apart from the 50, 100 and 200m backstroke. Sejwal won gold in 50, 100 and 200 breastroke and 4x100 medley relay.
Thodupuzha-born Mahitha Mohan of Kerala, 24, who was named India’s best cyclist in 2010, got 4 gold medals in Womens’s team sprint, 20km point race, 28km Individual Time trial road race and 10km scratch race.
Canoeist Nithya Kuriakose Mathai was another young star who made Kerala proud, the 21-year old winning 3 gold medals.
The only 3-gold individual winner in a ball game was tennis player Ankita Raina of Gujarat, who won the team event for her State as well as the singles and doubles events.