2019 SOUTH ASIA GAMES
- December 1st – December 10th
- Kathmandu and Pokhara, Nepal
While the 2019 Southeast (SEA) Games wrapped up on New Clark City, Philippines, the entirely separate South Asian Games saw its swimming competition conclude tonight in Nepal. Athletes spanning the nations of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka descended upon the International Sports Complex, Satdobato, Lalitpur for 4 days’ worth of aquatic action.
When all was said and done, the nation of India came away with the most number of medals across the men’s and women’s swimming events, hauling home 16 gold, 12 silver and 2 bronze for 30 in all. Runner-up was Sri Lanka who reaped 13 medals, including 4 gold, while the nation of Nepal rounded out the top 3 nations with 5 medals in total.
22-year-old Matthew Duncan Abeysinghe of Sri Lanka wreaked havoc across the men’s events, taking individual gold across the 50m free, 100m free and 200m free, as well as the 50m fly, 100m fly, and 200m IM.
The national record holder topped the 50m free podium in a time of 22.16, edging out India’s superstar Virdhawal Vikram Khade by .06. In the 100m free, Abeysinghe produced the only sub-50 second outing of the field with a gold medal-worthy swim of 49.27.
Abeysinghe’s time in the 50m fly was 24.00, while his 100m fly winning effort checked in at 53.65 and he took the 200m IM in 2:01.66.
His 100m free win came in the form of his 1:48.92, one of only two sub=1:50 marks of the final. Joining him on the podium in silver was India’s Kushagra Rawat, who punched a time of 1:49.64 as runner-up.
Rawat also claimed the 1500m freestyle title in a time of 15:08.83 to win by well over a minute and a half. He rounded out his medal haul with a 400m free gold in 3:49.76.
The women’s races saw 16-year-old Gaurika Singh make her mark on the meet, producing a winning 200m free time of 2:05.06 to win by over 2 seconds. She paired that with a 100m free result of 58.13, while also taking the 400m distance in a podium-topping swim of 4:25.28. The 200m back wasn’t safe from Singh either, as the teen busted out a winning effort of 2:17.73.
The women’s 400m IM saw a span of 22 years separate the winner and silver medalist, as 35-year-old Richa Mishra of India got to the wall first over 13-year-old Apeksha Fernandes. The former won gold in 5:03.36, while the latter clocked 5:09.74 to earn runner-up status. Mishra was also the 200m IM gold medalist here in 2:25.11.
India’s backstroking ace Srihari Nataraj made a clean sweep of gold across his discipline, taking the 50m in 24.78, the 100m in 53.63 and the 200m in 1:59.69.
Teammate Likith Selvaraj notched double wins for himself in breaststroke, beating the 50m field in a time fo 28.06, while clinching 100m breast gold in 1:00.42.
Finally, 23-year-old Rujuta Deepan made it happen in the women’s 50m free, earning a winning time of 26.34 to get the job done.