Despite Goa winning silver medals in beach football and wushu and being assured of a bronze in gatka, attention was drawn to the Ponda indoor multipurpose stadium where taekwondo officials were dismayed at the poor quality of mats procured.
Simultaneously, gloom prevailed at Fatorda stadium when Goa lost 0-1 to Karnataka with no hopes of qualifying for the next round of the men’s football of the 37th National Games being hosted by Goa.
At the end of Day 8, Goa slipped one step to 19th position, while Maharashtra has made its position at the top unassailable and Services piped Haryana to the 2nd position with an impressive array of gold medals in rowing.
With Rohan Karki’s and beach football silvers, Goa’s medal tally stands at 32 with two gold; seven silver; and 23 bronze.
But what was interesting on Day 8 was that the mats procured for taekwondo were found to be of substandard quality, forcing officials to use mats belonging to Taekwondo Association of Goa (TAG). “Since the quality of mats was bad, we had to rely on mats available with TAG,” stated an official present.
“Our mats were used for practice but I do not want to say anything more. I am happy and hope that Goa’s image is not tarnished,” stated TAG Secretary Navin Raikar.
If the incident in Ponda cast a shadow on the Games, it turned dark for Goa at Nehru stadium in Fatorda where Goa lost their second consecutive football match and with a match against Punjab left, have no chances of qualifying from the group.
“It is disappointing that we could not qualify. The boys played much better today in comparison to the match against Services. I cannot blame the boys because the preparation for this competition was not the best,” explained coach Derrick Pereira after the second successive loss.
Derrick Pereira, Coach Goa football team
The blemishes in Ponda and Fatorda would have been overshadowed had Goa bagged a gold in Colva but the hopes were brushed aside as the lads failed to jinx Kerala’s walk on the beach to gold.
Kerala, which is one of the few states in India to have a beach football league, were initially trailing Goa 3-5. But, their experience paid off, as they not only equalised but scored twice more to win 7-5.
Kerala scored in the second minute through Musheer TKB and Goa equalised through captain Pedro Gonsalves in the ninth. The Goa captain added two more within a span of two minutes but that was the closest the Goa fans came to getting a sight of gold.
“My hats off to my boys and the supporting staff for the excellent performance right through the tournament. They did exceedingly well and I have no complaints,” shot back Bruno Coutinho with swathes of honesty.
Bruno Coutinho, beach football team coach
Goa’s Pramod Kandeparkar finished with a bronze in gatka after defeating his counterpart from Haryana 40-36 but in the match for silver or gold, lost to Madhya Pradesh 41-44.
In the crucial contest with his counterpart from Madhya Pradesh, the lead swung between the two with Pramod leading 21-20 at the break. However, he slipped in the last quarter and ended his dream of either a gold or silver.
“I started learning this game just three months back and am happy with the result though a gold would definitely have taken me to the skies,” said Pramod after the fight and added, “Now that I have finished with a bronze I will practice harder and am sure this will encourage others.”
“I am happy with his performance and expect the others to give their best and finish with more medals,” said Gatka Association of Goa Secretary Saby Fernandes.
The controversy-marred Goa boxing team began its campaign with Goan boxer Suman Yadav losing in the Elite Women 52-4 kg category to Khanam Arshi from Rajasthan 4-1.
Niharika Gonnela from Karnataka, and selected to represent Goa, defeated Gogoi Barbi from Assam, and Sai Ayush from Haryana, who has also been selected for Goa, won in the Elite men 86-92 kg category.