National Games: Sanjana strikes silver in 100 m backstroke swim

Misses gold by a whisker; Gatka exponents garner 9 bronze medals as Goa slips to 22nd position on the competitive list
Sanjana Prabhugaokar made an impressive splash in the Campal pool in Panjim and managed to fetch a silver for Goa.
Sanjana Prabhugaokar made an impressive splash in the Campal pool in Panjim and managed to fetch a silver for Goa. Photo: Rohan Fernandes

Goa won one silver in aquatics and ten bronze medals – nine in Gatka and one in wushu – but slipped from the 19th position to the 22nd in the medals tally with the newly added non-Olympics sports increasing the haul of medals during the 37th National Games hosted by Goa.

Sanjana Prabhugaokar kept Goa’s buoy high in the pool with a silver, this time winning the 100-metre backstroke silver in a race she came close to winning the gold.

Sanjana off the mark for her silver splash.
Sanjana off the mark for her silver splash. Photo: Rohan Fernandes

Swimming side by side of Palak Joshi of Maharashtra, Sanjana at one stage seemed set for the gold but the former gave her best push to finish 44 seconds faster.

“Goa does not have the best facilities to train and therefore training out is the option for any athlete wanting to excel. It opens a different world. One needs to train against the best, to be the best,” explained former queen of the pool Talasha Prabhu – who won two gold, two silver and one bronze during the 2015 National Games in Ranchi – as she goaded Sanjana during the race.

Sanjana all smiles after the close silver finish.
Sanjana all smiles after the close silver finish. Photo: Rohan Fernandes

Gatka, which is similar to fencing, though the rules are different and a defined bamboo is used instead of a sword, has taken over from where Pencak Silat finished, with nine athletes – within the age bracket of 19 to 26 years – winning bronze on the second day.

Pramod Gaude, who had finished yesterday but was officially declared medal winner today, was joined by Joel Fernandes, Sanat Naik, Rishav Singh, Sankesh Khodginkar, Namita Gaokar, Aatisha Gaunkar, Chaya Mirashi and Vijaylaximi Hiremath.

Goa does not have the best facilities to train and therefore training out is the option for any athlete wanting to excel. It opens a different world. One needs to train against the best, to be the best

Talasha Prabhu, former Goa medal-winning swimmer

We are so happy that we got a chance to represent our state. This is our small way of saying thank you

Aatisha Gaunkar, Gatka medal winner

Nine Gatka bronze medals took Goa's tally to a new high.
Nine Gatka bronze medals took Goa's tally to a new high.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

The thrilled athletes, who were introduced to the rules of the game a few months before the National Games, promised to soak Goa with more glory. “We are so happy that we got a chance to represent our state. This is our small way of saying thank you,” shot back Aatisha Gaunkar.

Goa failed to win any medal in taekwondo and despite the progress of other teams, the cloud of suspicion still hung over the Multipurpose Indoor stadium in Ponda over the fate of the mats procured for the sport.

We had no complaints from athletes or officials but we needed to change ten octagonal mats as they were not as per standards. We believe the mats had arrived but since the consignment was yet to be opened we decided to use the mats belonging to Taekwondo Association Goa

Praveen T, chairman of Games Organizing Committee (GOC)

Some players complained about the thickness of the mats and the size, whilst the safety of players perturbed a section of the coaches. “The company that supplies the mats is good but the quality of mats supplied by them is not the best,” stated a coach from an outstation team on condition of anonymity.

“We had no complaints from athletes or officials but we needed to change ten octagonal mats as they were not as per standards. We believe the mats had arrived but since the consignment was yet to be opened we decided to use the mats belonging to Taekwondo Association Goa (TAG),” confessed Praveen T, chairman of Games Organizing Committee (GOC).

Sanjana Prabhugaokar made an impressive splash in the Campal pool in Panjim and managed to fetch a silver for Goa.
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Stacks of packed mats could be seen at the entrance of the venue.

“Goa lost all the matches on the first day and are therefore out of contention for winning any medal during this edition of the competition,” stated an officer dealing with results.

Stacks of taekwondo mats outside the multipurpose indoor stadium in Ponda leave many unanswered questions.
Stacks of taekwondo mats outside the multipurpose indoor stadium in Ponda leave many unanswered questions.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

The outstation boxers of Goa Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) appear to be keeping Goa’s hopes of winning medals alive with two Goan boxers – Jampula Shrisha in the women and Pralhad Panda in men’s – qualifying for the next round.

Maharashtra’s medal tally has risen to 161 with 60 being gold; Services is still on second with a tally of 63 with 37 gold and Haryana is third with a tally of 85 from which 31 are gold.

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