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12th South Asian Games , the Biggest Ever Sporting Extravaganza of North East come to a Glorious End

Successful conduct of the Games writes a golden page in the history of North Eastern region 
It was an evening of mixed emotions and sombreness as the curtains came down on the 12th South Asian Games 2016 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati Tuesday evening. 


The 12-day sporting extravaganza ended with a closing ceremony that complimented a grand opening ceremony suitably showcasing the rich culture of the host region. Filled with unbridled excitement and fervour of the participants and people , the stadium at Sarusajai exploded in revelry and celebration of the sports , friendship and togetherness.

Speaking on the occasion , the Assam Chief Minister Shri Tarun Gogoi, the Chief Guest said, adding that he hoped the Games will help boost trade and tourism among the eight South Asian countries who participated in the meet. He said that all the stake holders worked hard to make the games a grand success.

Thanking both Assam and Meghalaya for the successful holding of the 12th SAG, Union youth affairs and sports minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, who is also the chairman of the organising committee, 12th SAG, said the event assumed great significance because all the eight countries participated in it with a pledge to promote peace in South Asia. He said that Successful conduct of these games had written a golden page in the history of North Eastern region and had thus not only set a quality benchmark for conduct of future games but also had given an astounding boost to the confidence of the North East region to host much bigger international sporting events in future. He said that the games had also provided a huge boost to the sports infrastructure in Guwahati and Shillong for the sportspersons in this region to hone their sporting skills.

Speaking in the occasion, Chairman OC expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister of India for giving his blessings to the games and declaring the Games open on 5th February and thanked Team South Asian Games which included the officials of the Organising Committee, Union Government, Governments of Assam and Meghalaya, Indian Olympic Association, South Asia Olympic Council, and all the sports federations.

He also specially thanked the people of Assam and Meghalaya and volunteers who rallied around and provided their fullest cooperation, support and enthusiasm making these games a resounding success.

Shri Sarbanand Sonowal Chairman of OC and Minister of State(I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports added that South Asian Games had given to the people of SAARC region to interact with each other, reaffirm the ties of history and culture and foster mutual understanding and develop an unbreakable bond of oneness and togetherness. He hoped that coming together of 8 countries. would pave a way for enhanced economic, social and meaningful cooperation among the countries of SOUTH ASIA and would go a long way in promoting friendship, understanding, peace and prosperity in the SAARC region.

The official closing ceremony, that was attended among others by Nepal sports minister Shri Satya Narayan Mandal and Nepal Olympic Association president Shri Ram Kumar Shrestha, ended with Shri Sonowal and Indian Olympic Association president Shri N Ramachandran handing over the SAG flag to Shri Mandal and Shri Shrestha. The ceremony was also attended by Meghalaya sports minister Shri Zenith Sangma and Union sports ministry secretary Shri Rajiv Yadav, IOA secretary general Shri Rajiv Mehta and a host of dignitaries from the two host states.

Bands from the north eastern region, Still Waters (Sikkim), The Soul Rebels (Arunachal Pradesh), Salvator (Manipur), Boomarang (Mizoram) and Purple Fusion (Nagaland) rocked the stage since afternoon to create the ambience for a befitting end to the mega event.

The cultural show culminated with Bollywood singer Shaan’s performance which was preceded by shows from the legendary Bob Dylan of Meghalaya Lou Majaw, Priyanka Bharali, Dr Sangita Kakati, Mousam Gogoi and Mayukh Hazarika's The Brahmaputa Balladeers and others before a packed crowd.

Athletes from the eight nations -- Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India -- were accompanied by 1200 volunteers into the stadium during the march past.

The Games involved about 4500 participants, including around 2600 athletes, in 22 disciplines held in Guwahati and Shillong.

An unprecedented security arrangement ensured a smooth conduct of the 12-day event without any hitch across the two cities of Guwahati and Shillong. 

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SAG Pakistan, India share judo golds at South Asian Games on final day 
Pakistan and India evenly shared the four golds on offer on the final day of the judo competition at the 12th South Asian Games 2016 here today.

The four heaviest weight categories in men's and women's judo were held on what is also the final day of the 12th SAG in the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Sports Hall.

For India, Pooja (women's under-70kg) and Avtar Singh (men's U-90kg) bagged gold, while Fouzia Mumtaz (women's U-78kg) and Hussain Shah (men's U-100kg) took first place for Pakistan.

Pooja, who received a bye into the semifinal round, first took down WAPRL Jayarathne of Sri Lanka before beating Beenish Khan of Pakistan in the final bout. Jayaratne and Ganga Chaudhary (Nepal), who lost to Beenish in the last-four, were awarded bronze.

There were only four contestants in the women's U-78kg category, so the event was held in a round-robin format. There was little to separate Fouzia from India's silver medal winner Aruna, with the former collecting a total score of 210 to Aruna's 200. The two had a exciting fight, with supporters of both sides cheering them on. It was a close contest, in which Fouzia flipped her opponent onto her back for a waza-ari and the score ended 10-0, which ultimately proved crucial in getting the Pakistani judoka the gold. WGLD Jayawardana (Sri Lanka) and Punam Shrestha (Nepal) were awarded bronze.

Switching over to the men's events and Avtar Singh had little trouble progessing towards his gold medal, with easy victories over Sanjay Maharjan (Nepal), Md Jahangir Alam (Bangladesh) and then Mohammad Kakar (Afghanistan) in the final, which only lasted 49 seconds. GWKKD Gihan (Sri Lanka) and M Afzal Bashir (Pakistan) took bronze.

In the last final of the tournament, Hussain Shah took the gold for Pakistan in the U-100kg men's final in less than 90 seconds over his Indian opponent Shubham Kumar. Shiva Bahadur Baram (Nepal) and M Tawfiq Bakhshi (Afghanistan) were awarded bronze.

The hosts thus came away with nine gold medals in total, along with three silver. Pakistan's two golds today were their only top finishes in the discipline, but they also leave with two silver medals and eight bronze.

Nepal was the only other country to come away with a gold, won by Phupu Lhamu Khatri in the women's U-63kg category yesterday. Nepal also claimed two silver and six bronze medals. Among the other countries, Afghanistan took four silver and two bronze, while Sri Lanka took one silver and six bronze. Bangladesh finished with two bronze, while Bhutan, who sent a very young team comprising only four members, ended without any medals. 
*****

SAG Perfect 10 for India in Boxing 
It all went as scripted for Indian women pugilists who crushed any chance of a final-day surprise beating their Sri Lankan opponents convincingly to bag all the three gold medals on offer on the closing day at the 12th South Asian Games in Shillong on Tuesday.

MC Mary Kom, L Sarita Devi and Pooja Rani clinched the yellow metal in their respective categories to make it a perfect 10 for India in boxing at the NEHU, SAI Special Area Games in Shillong.

Earlier on Monday, the Indian men had grabbed all seven gold medals on offer to set the platform for a clean sweep in the discipline.

It was none other than the famed MC Mary Kom who set the tempo for the Indians on Tuesday morning, handing over her animated Sri Lankan rival Anusha Dilrukshi a first round technical knockout.  

Anusha had before the start of the event announced that she is all set to challenge the five times world champion during the SAG.

Mary Kom, who entered the ring backed by a roaring crowd, was tested in the very first second by a wild swing by the Lankan in their women's fly weight category bout. Later both boxers collapsed, with Mary on top of Anusha, as the latter received an injury on the right knee.

The Lankan mustered courage to continue from there but her effort was shortlived as in the very next second she was brought down by a Mary Kom straight punch. What followed was a round 1 TKO.

Reacting to a query the Olympian said, “She was the one who challenged me before the match. I don't feel the need to comment if anyone challenges me. I am happy with the performance..deep inside, I am very positive.”

Making her comeback after a year, L Sarita Devi was brimming with energy and delivered a flurry of punches to rattle her opponent in the light weight category bout. The Lankan, however, survived to fight another round and did well to not only resist Sarita's onslaught but make a statement with a straight punch. Vidushika Prabadhi fared well in the third round too but eventually went down 0-3 to the Indian.

Sarita once again thanked the people of the country for backing her during the difficult phase after the bout. 

The impressive Pooja Rani handed over a round 2 TKO to Sri Lanka's Nilanthi Andaraweer to sign things off in style for India.

Pooja was thoroughly dominating in the bout not giving the Lankan any opening. Pooja used her left hooks and jabs to perfection to rattle the Sri Lankan who could not sustain beyond round 2 thus settling for silver in the middle weight category.

India thus clinched all the gold medals on offer in boxing to add fillip to its gold rush in the 12th South Asian Games.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, Health Minister A L Hek, South Asian Games CEO (Shillong), Mr R K Sharma, Meghalaya Chief Secretary P B O Warjri among others handed over the medals to the winners.

Results:
Women's Fly (48-51 kg) Red MC Mary Kom                  Red: TKO R1
                                        Blue Anusha Dilrukshi
Women's light (57-60 kg) Red Vidushika Prabadhi         WP Blue: 3-0
                                          Blue L Sarita Devi
Women's middle (69-75 kg) Red Andaraweer Nilanthi
                                              Blue Pooja Rani                 Blue: TKO R2  

*****
SAG Boxing 
In a day thoroughly dominated by the hosts, Indian men made a clean sweep of all seven gold medals on offer in boxing at the 12th South Asian Games in Shillong on Monday.

Youngster Shiva Thapa added another feather to his cap beating Sri Lanka's Ruwan Thilina to the gold medal in the bantam weight category. L Devendro Singh had a stiff resistance from Pakistan's Mohib Ulla but eventually emerged victorious 2-1 in the light fly (46-49 kg) category.

Madan Lal beat Pakistan's Syed Md Asif 3-0 in the fly (52 kg) category. Dheeraj overcame Pakistan's Ahmed Ali in the light (60 kg) category, while Manoj Kumar got the better of Sri Lanka's D Suparamadu 3-0 in the light welter category. Mandeep Jangra tamed Afghanistan's Rahemi Alla Dad in the welter (69 kg) category, while Vikas Krishan (75 kg) signed off in style beating Pakistan's Ahmed Tanveer in a unanimous 3-0 decision.

There was no surprise in store at the NEHU, SAI Special Area Games for there was no stopping to India's gold rush. However, a couple of rival boxers did create the occasional jittery for the Indian fans.

Shiva Thapa faced an aggressive Lankan opponent Ruwan Thilina who looked to take the attack to the Indian. Shiva made a flawless start with a left jab and a straight punch setting the tempo for the bout. The reigning Asian champion was, however, pushed to the defensive by his opponent looking to force headbutts in the second round. A right upper cut and a flurry of punches pushed the Lankan rival back as Thapa sailed to the gold with a 3-0 unanimous decision.

It was a good challenge said Thapa who was elated at winning the gold at the SAG which was “by no means easy.”

Earlier, L Devendro Singh had a stiff challenge from Pakistan's Mohib Ulla, who came back well in the second round to resist the Indian's onslaught. Devendro won by a 2-1 split decision.

Meanwhile, Dheeraj had a tough time taming Pakistan's Ahmed Ali in the final of the light weight category.

Ali looked quicker of the two in round 1 and used his height to the advantage. It was an intense round 2 which saw both boxers exchange a flurry of punches besides a sharp right jab by Ali buoyed the Pakistan contingent on the stands. Dheeraj, however, took control in round 3. The Indian eventually won by a split decision of 2-1.

Up against the mighty Afghan Rahemi Alla Dad, Mandeep Jangra had to be on the defensive with the rival swinging blows all along. An upper cut and a right hook in round 2 asserted Mandeep's dominance of the bout. The Afghan was not ready to yield easy and retaliated with a left jab. In what was a visibly close contest, Rahemi went down 0-3 by unanimous decision.

“He was a tough opponent, it was a good fight in the end,” Mandeep admitted after the bout.

A half fit Vikas Krishan, who has been suffering from a light fever for the last three days, made light work of Pakistan's Ahmed Tanveer to sign off things in style for India.

With the men living up to their expectations the onus would now be on the Indian women to get India a perfect 10 on Tuesday. 
****

SAG JUDO 
India almost made a clean sweep in the eight weight categories of judo contested yesterday in the 12th South Asian Games 2016 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Sports Hall at Shillong

India's gold medal winners in the women's division were Shushila Devi Likmabam (under-48kg), Kalpana Devi Thoudam (U-52kg) and Anita Chanu Angom (U-57kg), while Bhupinder Singh (U-60kg), Jasleen Singh Saini (U-66kg), Manjeet Nandal (U-73kg) and Karanjit Singh Maan (U-81kg) took gold in the men's division.

The only gold medal that India could not secure was in the women's U-63kg category, where Sunibala Devi Huidrom was pipped by Phupu Lhamu Khatri of Nepal.

The women's U-52kg, U-57kg and U-63kg were held in a round robin format as they only had five entrants each, while the others were conducted in a knockout format.

Lhamu Khatri outscored Sunibala 310 to 300 to claim gold in the U-63kg category. Ambreen Masih (Pakistan) and DYL Wijewardene (Sri Lanka) were awarded bronze.

In U-52 women's category, Kalpana Devi claimed gold over Lila Adhikari (Nepal) with a score of 310 to 300. Iran Shahzadi (Pakistan) and Tahamida Tabass Jerin (Bangladesh) got the bronze.

In the U-57kg Nepal's Manita Shrestha Pradhan lost out to Anita Chanu 300 to 310. Shumaila Gul (Pakistan) and KLMPK Liyanage (Sri Lanka) claimed bronze.

Only the U-48kg category had a final in the women's category in which Likmabam had a tough fight against Pakistan's Humaira Ashiq. The bout was decided by 'Golden Score' after the regulation four minutes ended all square at 0-0. An extra 73 seconds were required before Likmabam pinned her opponent for the win. MP Sandamali (Sri Lanka) and Sarita Chaudhary (Nepal) got bronze.

In the men's events, three of India's judokas had to get past Afghanistan opponents in the finals.

The first, the U-60kg bout, saw Bhupinder beat Ali Popalzai with a single point, while Pakistan's Mudassir Ali and Nepal's Indra Bahadur Shrestha picked up bronze.

It was an Indo-Afghan final in the U-66kg category with the hosts victorious once again as Saini beat Mohammad Reshad Aryan 2-0. Bronze went to Babar Hussain (Pakistan) and Ramesh Magar (Nepal).

The third men's final, in the U-73kg category, barely lasted a minute and a half after Nandal flipped RCN Darmawardene of Sri Lanka for an automatic victory. Imtiaz Hussain (Pakistan) and Abdul Manan Mkhadom (Afghanistan) claimed bronze.

In the U-81kg category Karanjit threw down Afghanistan's Ajmal Faiz Zada in the final, leaving the latter with silver. Qaiser Khan (Pakistan) and Md Habibur Rahman (Bangladesh) got the bronze. 


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