As the truth that the Sepak Takraw team finished claiming six gold, one silver and one bronze sent emotions kicking high, the news that the team comprised of a majority of players from Manipur – nine who represented India during the 2018 Asian Games – left many with mixed emotions.
Nevertheless, the win and the heroics of Shrungi Bandekar and Sanjana Prabhugaokar in the pool helped Goa climb to the tenth position in the medals tally with a basket of 44 medals – 8 gold, 10 silver and 26 bronze.
Goa’s best performance was at the Ranchi National Games in 2011, where the State won 16 medals, five of which were gold. Goa’s Talasha Prabhu had returned with the highest individual haul of five medals and the title of fastest swimmer of the meet.
The vocal Goa supporters at the swimming pool in Campal witnessed Shrungi claim a silver in the 200 metre individual medley, after having won the bronze two days earlier, with a burst that gave all a hope of Goa’s first swimming gold.
Shrungi was the first to touch the 100m mark with a timing of 1.08.31 and as she burst for her final dash and seemed close to the finish, Manavi Varma of Karnataka spoilt the party by finishing with a timing of 2:24:21. Shrungi clocked 2:26:90.
“I am proud of my daughter because of the honesty and the hard work she puts in. That is my win. Her dreams are mine and I am sure they will realise,” said her ecstatic mother Madhuri.
If Shrungi left the Goan fans wanting for more, Sanjana who had already won two silver and a bronze, kept them salivating for gold but all had to settle for bronze.
“I am enjoying the competition and after already having tasted success, am ready to give it another go for gold in my last race tomorrow. I will continue giving my best,” said a content Sanjana.
After the women, Michael Xavier D’Souza, the only male to have qualified for a swimming final, kept the spirit alive when the men were called for the 50-meter backstroke. The boy from Vagator started with a deep plunge but through the halfway mark was over powered by four others and he had to settle for the fifth slot with a timing of 26:95.
“I am happy that I made it to the final. Winning is everyone’s dream, but I must accept my colleagues did better and that I need to ascertain where I need to focus on to improve my speed,” asserted Michael.
From the seven sepak takraw finals that Goa was seen in action, in three, the battle seemed between Manipur and the Manipuris representing Goa and the home team won two of those.
Goa men beat Kerala, Delhi and Haryana twice to finish with a tally of eight medals – four gold men, two gold women, one silver women and one bronze women.
“It is a pity that the Goa team consisted of ten men from Manipur and only five from Goa. I resigned from the Goa Sepak Takraw Association (GSTA) after I saw them giving a chance to boys from outside instead of allowing our boys,” said an upset Vishnu Desai.
“I brought the game to Goa to help our boys,” added Vishnu, who was once the treasurer of GSTA. GSTA secretary Suraj Desai did not solicit numerous phone calls.
In boxing, where the number of outstation players being fielded had drawn more attention, Goa’s AK Roshan moved into the next round defeating Anchit Sharma of Delhi through RSCI.
Rajat of Army Sports Institute Pune, but representing Goa, defeated Malsawmkima of Mizoram 5-0 and in the women’s category Sakshi also from Army Sports Institute Pune and representing Goa defeated Kalpana of Haryana 5-0.