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Gairik Bardhan sets SAF Games swim record

Last updated on: March 30, 2004 21:28 IST

India made a big splash, winning all the four gold medals on offer with a record to boot by Gairik Bardhan, in the men's swimming events on the opening day of the ninth SAF Games at the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad on Tuesday.

India were the favourites to win all the gold medals but there were some hiccups when Kolkata school boy Bardhan lagged far behind two Bangladeshis in the 200m breaststroke. 

But Bardhan, who hogged the limelight at the National Championships in Kolkata, proved his class with a fine burst in the last 50 metres.

Once he forged ahead of Mohammad Niaz Ali of Bangladesh 60 metres from the finish, Bardhan accelerated well to win the gold.

Bardhan's effort of 2 minutes 28.95 seconds was good enough to set a new Games mark, erasing the old one in the name of Mizanur Rahman (2.32.05 at Chennai in 1995).

Niaz Ali (2m:32.36s) and Karkar Samedul Islam (2m:38.37s) settled for silver and bronze respectively.

India won the second gold through Rehan Poncha in the 200m individual medley. Poncha had to put in his best effort as Mohammad Rubel Rana of Bangladesh was enjoying a slight advantage.

But Poncha, the defending champion, pulled ahead to finish in 2 min 15.37 seconds for the gold.

Rana (2m:17.57s) and Pakistan's Zulfiqar Ali (2m:18.47sec) were second and third respectively.

In the 200m backstroke and 400m freestyle events, the Indian swimmers -- Akbar Ali Mir and Mandar Divase -- showed irrepressible form to emerge runaway winners.

Results:

200m individual medley: 1. Rehan Poncha (Ind) 2:15.37 secs; 2. Mohammad Rubel Rana (Bangla) 2:17.57 secs; 3. Zulfiqar Ali (Pak) 2:18.47 secs).

200m breststroke: 1. Gairik Bardhan (Ind) 2:28.95 secs New Games Record (old: Mizanur Rahman - Bangladesh 2:32.05 secs Chennai 1995); 2. Mohammad Niaz Ali (Bangla) 2:32.36 secs; 3. Kardar Samedul Islam (Bangla) 2:38.37secs.

200m backstroke: 1. Akbar Ali Mir (Ind) 2:14.26 secs; 2. Arun Karunaratne (Sri) 2:21.99 secs; 3. Imdad Ali (Pak) 2:22.11 secs.

400m freestyle: 1. Mandar Divase (Ind) 4:14.11 secs; 2.Mumtaz Ahmad (Pak) 4:21.84 secs and 3. Mehboob ali (Pak) 4:24.42 secs.

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