The early morning rains were forgotten by afternoon, as there was a veritable gold rush, when 21 medals – 11 gold, 7 silver and 3 bronze – came Goa’s way taking the hosts to the 9th position on the medal table, the best ever, at the time of this report being published.
Sqay martial arts was the unexpected contributor to the medal tally adding 6 gold, 6 silver and 2 bronze to the Goa total, propelling the State to the 9th position with a total of 78 medals – 23 gold, 24 silver and 31 bronze.
If Goan athletes thought they had reserved the best for the last, the rain God’s appeared to be on the same wavelength with athletes and officials aghast with the grounds being inhospitable after the rain. The tents at the sports village, soaked and dripping, the mats wet and the arena was without electricity.
With no lights, all the events were held without air condition or signboards with just sufficient light on the play floor and enough to run the sound system. Walking was dangerous but the athletes showed that their spirit was indomitable.
Though delayed, till a semblance of order could be obtained at all playing fields, the games went on despite the inconveniences. “There is no clause that the games can be postponed. The games will be going on schedule. At maximum, there may be a delay,” informed a member of Games Technical Conduct Committee (GTCC).
Wooden floors were put in areas with ankle deep water at the Campal Sports Village and material that could not withstand the onslaught of unseasonal rains was removed by afternoon and replaced. Meals were served on schedule.
Bad weather did not permit the start of sailing, leaving officials to declare the winners on the basis of the standings recorded the previous day, with the brother-sister combination of Dayne and Katya lifting the first golds of the day.
Adhvait Menon had to be content with silver in the ICLA4 men and Pearl Colvalcar finished with a bronze giving Goa one of its best performances in sailing despite a few hiccups suffered by two athletes who were informed by their hotels that they need to check out a day earlier.
“The two hotels in Candolim informed our athletes that they had to check out on the 9th instead of 10th. I emailed the GTCC Chairman Amitabh Sharma and since he did not bother to reply I contacted Geeta Nagvekar who promised to do the needful,” stated GYA vice president Sidharth.
The touch of gold flowed from Hawaii beach in Dona Paula to Peddem in Mapusa where the three boxers from the Army Sports Institute Pune on loan to Goa fought their way to three gold and the contingent finished with a tally of 9 after winning 3 more silver and bronze in other weight categories.
The Goa Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) headed by Franky Viegas had just three Goan pugilists out of seven representing Goa in men and three Goan boxers out of six representing the State – way higher than the 70/30 principle recommended by the government through Sports Authority of Goa (SAG).
“I am happy that the boxers representing us won so many medals but I would have been happier had our own Goan boxers been given a chance. The sad thing is that boxers with potential to win were sidelined,” admitted Mukhtar Amlani, secretary of GABA.
Goa had in the 36th National Games in Gujarat finished 30th with only 5 bronze and hosts Gujarat had finished 12th with a total of 49 medals – 12 gold, 13 silver and 21 bronze.
Maharashtra, who finished runners up to Services in Gujarat is poised comfortably on top with 71 gold and a total of 206 medals.