Uttar Pradesh’s Ram Baboo, an unemployed Physical Education graduate, chose the National Games platform to draw attention to himself with a National record when winning the men’s 35km Race Walk at IIT Gandhinagar on Tuesday. His victory in 2 hours 36 minutes 34 seconds was sweeter as he beat the record holder Juned Khan of Haryana.
It is the fifth National record set at the Games here and the third in Track and Field sport after the women and men’s Pole Vault records by Rosy Meena Paulraj (Tamil Nadu) and Siva Subramaniam (Services) respectively. There have been two National records at the Weightlifting arena in Mahatma Mandir.
Ram Baboo started well and looked set to finish with a faster time but said the rising heat, as the race progressed, slowed him down. The 23-year-old said he was pleased that he could beat Juned Khan with more than three and a half minutes to spare. “I will keep working hard to replicate such time on an international platform too,” he said.
An injury in 2018 had forced Ram Baboo to stop his pursuit of running and take to Race Walking.
He was the inaugural champion in National Open Championships in Warangal last year when he pegged the National Record at 2:46:31.00. Though he clocked a faster time of 2:41:30.00 in the National Race Walking Championships in Ranchi this year, he was unable to match strides with Juned Khan who set the record at 2:40:16.00.
In the weightlifting arena, Uttar Pradesh’s Purnima Pandey overcame a stiff back and clinched gold in the women’s +87kg class at the Mahatma Mandir. Purnima, who finished sixth at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, did enough to take the top spot on the podium with total lifts of 215kg, with 95kg in Snatch and 120kg in Clean & Jerk.
Maharashtra’s Richa Chordia and Sanyukta Kale shared today’s Rhythmic Gymnastics honours in the Sama Indoor Sports Complex in Vadodara. Sanyukta, the Thane athlete, topped the Hoop events with 26.05 points while Richa Chordia proved better with the Ball, catching the judges’ eyes to pocket 25.30 points.
Maharashtra also claimed the Kho Kho golden double after the men defeated Kerala 30-26 after leading 26-10 at the half-time. The women’s team had earlier dashed Odisha’s dream with a 18-16 win that was built almost entirely in the first half when the western State opened up a 18-8 lead.
In Rajkot, Gujarat’s leading swimmer Maana Patel enjoyed competing in individual events today after swimming in relays for last two days. She topped the heats in both 200m Backstroke (2:24.05) and 50m Freestyle. Her Backstroke rival, Ridhima Veerendra Kumar (Karnataka) won her heat with a time of 2:25.64.
Maana Patel broke the National Games record in the Freestyle sprint clocking a personal best time of 26.60 seconds to better the mark of 26.90 achieved by Aditi Dhumatkar in 2015. She thus dislodged National champion Avantika Chawan (Maharashtra) in the third place on the all-time Indian list behind Shikha Tandon and Kenisha Gupta.
In Surat, top-seeded left-hander Malvika Bansod (Maharashtra) quelled the challenge of Unnati Hooda (Haryana) in the women’s singles first round with a 22-20, 21-13 win in a contest that fans watched with interest. Unnati, who hails from the Wrestling hub of Rohtak, had beaten Malvika in their first meeting earlier this year but the Nagpur player got one back last month.
With victories in their respective first round matches, second seed Aakarshi Kashyap (Chhattisgarh) and home favourite Tasnim Mir set up a mouth-watering quarterfinal battle.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra’s Arjun Kadhe (Maharashtra) will meet Manish Suresh Kumar (Tamil Nadu) in the men’s singles final while Gujarat’s Zeel Desai will vie for the women’s singles crown with Karnataka’s Sharmada Balu in the Tennis competition at the Riverfront Sports Complex in Ahmedabad.
The results (final)
Men’s 10m Platform: 1. Siddharth Pardeshi (Services) 322.5 points; 2. Sourav Devnath (Services) 280.65; 3. Om Awasthi (Maharashtra) 244.45.
35km Race Walk: 1. Ram Baboo (Uttar Pradesh) 2:36:34.00 (New National Record. Old: 2:40:16.00, Juned Khan, Ranchi, 2022); 2, Juned Khan (Haryana) 2:40:51.00; 3. Chandan Singh (Services) 2:44:02.00.
35km Race Walk: 1. Payal (Uttarakhand) 3;11:23.00; 2. Manju Rani (Punjab) 3:22:32.00; 3. Puja Pramanik (West Bengal) 3:33:56.00.
Hoops: 1. Sanyukta Kale (Maharashtra) 26.05; 2. Richa Chordia (Mahaharashtra) 24.70; 3. Life Adlakha (Haryana) 20.35.
Ball: 1. Richa Chordia (Maharashtra) 25.30; 2. Sanyukta Kale (Maharashtra) 23.80; 3. Life Adlakha (Haryana) 19.04.
Men: Maharashtra beat Kerala 30-26 (Half-time 26-10). Bronze medals: West Bengal and Karnataka.
Women: Maharashtra beat Odisha 18-16 (18-8). Bronze medals: Karnataka and Delhi.
Over 109kg class: 1. Vipan Kumar (Services) Snatch 161kg, Clean and Jerk 195, Total 356kg; 2. Hitesh Kumar 150, 187, 337; 3. Shyopat Singh (Rajasthan) 148, 183, 331.
Over 87kg class: 1. Purnima Pandey (Uttar Pradesh) Snatch 95, Clean and Jerk 120, Total 215kg: 2. MT Ann Mariya (Kerala) 90, 121, 211; 3. Manpreet Kaur (Punjab) 87, 120, 207.
Epee Team: Services beat Maharashtra) 44-30. Bronze medals: Chhattisgarh and Punjab.
Foil Team: Manipur beat Kerala 45-41; Bronze medals: Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Group B: Karnataka beat Tamil Nadu 5-1 (2-1); Uttar Pradesh beat Jharkhand 4-1 (1-0).
Men’s Singles (Semifinals): Arjun Kadhe (Maharashtra) beat SSD Prajwal Dev (Karnataka) 7-5, 7-5; Manish Suresh Kumar (Tamil Nadu) beat G Manish (Karnataka) 6-7, 6-2, 6-2.
Women’s Singles (Semifinals): Sharmada Balu (Karnataka) beat Yubrani Banerjee (West Bengal) 6-0, 6-3. Zeel Desai (Gujarat) beat Rutuja Bhosale (Maharashtra) 6-0, latter retd.