Indias supremacy unrivalled but competition in SAG a concern

first_imgPhilem Dipak/Tapan Mohanta Guwahati/Shillong, Feb 17 (PTI) For the 12th successive time, none could match up to Indias regional might but the host countrys record-breaking medal haul of 308 can hardly hide the fact that the standard of competition in the South Asian Games has failed to rise significantly. This was the best performance by any country in the Games 32-year history but what is worrying for the relevance of the event is that it has been reduced to an Indian show of dominance for most part. This time too, the Indian athletes ran away with 188 gold, 90 silver and 30 bronze medals. The host country bagged more than three-fourth of the total 239 gold on offer in the February 5-16 showpiece. Sri Lanka were a distant second with 25 gold, 63 silver and 98 bronze while Pakistan finished at third with 12 gold, 37 silver and 57 bronze. The only edition in which Indias domination was near comparable was the 1995 Games in then Madras where India won 106 gold — just less than three-fourth — out of 143. India has always finished on top in all the 1 editions of the SAG so far but the domination this time was unprecedented with clean or near clean sweep in boxing, archery, tennis, badminton, table tennis, shooting, athletics, wrestling, swimming, weightlifting, cycling, judo and wushu. The Indians also bagged both the mens and womens gold in traditional sports of kabaddi and kho-kho, and in handball and volleyball, besides picking all the three gold on offer in triathlon. Taekwondo was the only discipline in which India had to settle for the runners-up place behind Afghanistan. The Indians bagged five gold, three silver and two bronze medals, while Afghans had a tally of 6-1-1 in taekwondo. The biggest disappointment for India was their failure to win a mens hockey gold since the 1995 edition as they lost yet again to arch-rivals Pakistan in the summit clash. Pakistan thus claimed their third gold on the trot having won in 2006 and 2010 editions, beating India on both the previous occasions as well. The womens hockey team, however, easily claimed the gold by mauling their opposition teams. Indian mens football team also failed to win the gold, losing to Nepal in the final in front of a football-crazy crowd of Guwahati. The womens team though won the gold in the final international match of star Manipuri player and captain Oinam Bembem Devi who hung her boots after an illustrious career spanning two decades. PTI PDS/TAP PM PMadvertisementlast_img read more