Maharashtra retain Khelo India Youth Games superiority with a whopping 256 medals

Maharashtra retained supremacy in the Khelo India Youth Games 2020 with a rich collection of 78 gold and 77 silver in a total of 256 medals, leaving Haryana to draw consolation from their 200-medal haul as the celebration of sports for the nation’s youth came to a poignant end here on Wednesday.

Kareena Shankta won her second individual gold medal while leading a Maharashtra sweep of the podium in the Girls Under-17 200m Breaststroke event that saw them scoop 46 medals from the pool, including 18 gold that left Haryana in their wake.

Maharashtra’s other gold medals on Wednesday came from the tennis court where Snehal Mane and Mihita Yadav rallied from the loss of the first set to beat Telangana’s top-seeds Sravya Chilkapudi and Sama Sathwika 3-6, 6-3, 10-7 and from Girls Under-21 weightlifter Snehal Sukumar Bhongale.

Through the day, the Maharashtra contingent kept an eye on Haryana’s surge. Expectedly, their rivals enjoyed a productive day, winning 10 gold medals through both their girls football teams, boxers and the Under-17 tennis boys doubles pair. But with four Haryana boxers losing in the finals, the fight for the top place was as good as over before the action shifted to the swimming pool.

It was there that Karnataka added four gold to those won by boxer Nishant Dev and rising tennis star Reshma Maruri to leapfrog over Uttar Pradesh in the medal charts to the fourth place behind Maharashtra, Haryana and Delhi. Srihari Nataraj won the 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle gold medals to take his medal collection in the Games to five gold and three silvers.

With eight medals to show for his efforts, Srihari Nataraj shared the limelight with fellow-swimmer Shivangi Sarma (Assam) who won five gold and two silver to emerge the most successful girl in the Khelo India Youth Games. With 21 of their 32 gold coming from the pool, Karnataka were beholden to their swimmers.

Haryana’s domination of the boxing ring was absolute, claiming a massive 47 medals, including 15 gold and 14 silver. A measure of their superiority can be seen from the fact that their closest rivals, Maharashtra, secured 19 medals, including six gold, a few of which were won by boxers from the North-East who are training at the Army Sports Institute in Pune.  

Puducherry and Ladakh made it to the medal charts on the final day. For Puducherry, their Girls Under-21 over 87kg class weightlifter secured a bronze behind Snehal Sukumar Bhongale and Swati Yadav (Uttar Pradesh). For Ladakh, making their debut in  the Khelo Games, Fahana Eliyas secured a bronze in the 69kg Girls Under-21 competition.

It meant that as many 33 contingents from across the country went back home with at least a medal. The home State had much to cheer about ahead of the emotional closing ceremony, having won 20 gold and 22 silver in a total of 76 medals to be seventh overall. West Bengal, Gujarat and Punjab completed the list of top 10 States on the medals table.