Akanksha Salunkhe gave Goa another gold by comfortably winning in squash, while Katya Coelho is definite to finish with either a gold or a silver and three outstation boxers wearing the Goa jersey are in sight of medals. On the other hand, in kabaddi and lagori Goa started with a bleep on day 11 of the 37th National Games hosted by Goa.
Despite the gold from squash, Goa found itself squeezed from the 11th position to the 12th in the medals tally reflecting a story of money not well spent with 11 gold, 12 silver and 26 bronze.
That Akanksha was bound for gold was never in doubt because she is an Indian champion set to conquer the world. The 37th National Games was a teaser for an athlete whose ambition is to be the best.
“When I saw the talent in my daughter, I gave her the best from the beginning. If you want your child to be the best, you have to give her the best from start and all I can say is it is money well spent,” said Hemant Salunkhe after his daughter’s heroics.
Hemant Salunkhe, father of Akanksha
The gold medalist was also frank. “My dream is to be the number one in the world and it is for that reason that I moved to the USA because there is no programme in India. It is hard to survive in India but a proud moment to win this gold for Goa, a Goa that has contributed so much to my growth,” observed Akanksha whose success goes to her family.
Another medal is assured in windsurfing as the contest in IQ foil women is between Goa’s Katya Coelho and Ishwariya Ganesh from Tamil Nadu, as the other two competitors – Vidhyanshi Mishra and Manaswini Maharana – had one Did not Start (DNS) and three and four Did Not Finish (DNF) respectively.
“There needed to be five participants to form a class and since Goa was the host, four were allowed,” explained a source in the Games Technical Competition Committee (GTCC) secretariat when confronted with the anomaly.
Goa’s Dayne Coelho was in pole position at end of second day’s race in IQ foil men having finished the first four races first and second in the last. Pearl Colvalcar finished third not really impressing in the water.
“Goa is the hub of windsurfing and the sport has a potential to grow in Goa if its reach is extended to other classes. Goa offers a visibility no other state can and is the best place in the country to have a festival,” said Yachting Association of India (YAI) Secretary Captain Jitendra Dixit.
Goa started their kabaddi campaign tentatively and after initial resistance caved in to the 24-45 to Services men who had longer hands and legs reach compared to the lads from Goa. Goaded by the biggest crowd in the competition, the lads did not disappoint.
Lagori, which is a refined version of seven tiles, saw Goa eves lose to Haryana by two sets – 2-11, 44-46 in a contest that saw the players enjoy the atmosphere of playing on the national stage.
There were times when the girls from Goa looked in awe or not sure of when to do what, but just the feel of being on such a big stage did them a lot of good, irrespective of the result.
Three boxers representing Goa have entered the semifinals whilst the only boxer from the State Shrisha Jampula lost 0-5 to Kaul Komrapeet of Punjab.
Shubham Debnath was the lone representative of Goa to reach the semifinal of traditional yogasana.