Two sports without the halo of Olympic Games – yogasana and lagori – saw Goa winning titles in the men’s category and the yogasana medal was added to the official medal tally count at the end of 12th day of the 37th National Games hosted by Goa.
An official government release stated: “Shubham Debnath clinched the gold medal in the men’s traditional Yogasana category … to help host Goa complete a half century of medals at the 37th National Games.”
However, yogasana is not a recognised medal sport. An Indian Olympic Association (IOA) letter IOA/RTI/Section-VI(9)2023/1496 dated 12-10-2023 states: “No federation for the sport of Yoga is affiliated with the Indian Olympic Association.” By adding the medal, Goa’s tally touched 50 and it climbed to the 11th position from 13th in the morning.
“The government may have got it done (added yoga in the medal’s category) for reasons best known to them. If they added the yogasana medal, they might as well add the lagori medal,” stated an amused member of the IOA on condition of anonymity.
Notwithstanding the conflict of interest, the temporary arena in Campal Sports Village echoed with cheers as players and fans of different lagori teams rooted for their respective teams – a clear statement of the growing popularity of the game.
Goa men who had lost to Maharashtra in the last national competition in Haryana a few months ago, struck revenge winning in two straight sets: 10-3, 22-18 whilst the girls, despite losing in the semifinals, gave it their all to finish third with an accomplished 6-5, 10-4 win over Jharkhand.
“We will win the gold. We have no doubt about it this time. We have practiced hard and are ready,” said Goa skipper Sukanya Naik before the semifinal loss. “It was not our day but at least our colleagues won the men’s title,” said a smiling captain whose team had also finished third in the Nationals in Haryana.
“I am happy for my boys. It showed that success comes with a lot of hard work. This is especially sweet after having lost to Maharashtra 1-2 in the last finals,” said a happy Goa men’s team coach Nitin Parsekar.
There was equal jubilation in the yogasana arena when Shubham Debnath was declared winner. “Yogasana is different from yoga and we have put systems in place that have brought in professionalism,” stated a technical head at the venue.
The Goa judo team, once known to bring laurels, failed to take off right from the morning with no judoka from Goa featuring in the quarterfinal or knock-out bouts in the evening. “It happens in sports,” stated Gururdutta Bhakta whose fiefdom it is.
Goa, with a majority of players on loan from other States, continued in its endeavour of bringing laurels in boxing with four more boxers giving hopes of more medals with five already having qualified for the semifinals on Sunday.
Except for the RSX class race in sailing, where Goa’s Vijay More provisionally finished fourth, all other races, as per a note from the organisers, “were called off due to low and shifting winds after the storm passed over.”
As the games enter the 13th day, Goa’s medal tally on the official 37th National Games website reads: Position 12 – 12 gold, 12 silver and 26 bronze.