The excitement and enthusiasm amongst the athletes and audience was on a rise on day two of the momentous HP State Olympic Games. Charged up by the slogan of “Khelega Yuva, Jeetega Himachal” coined by the heartbeat of young Himachali’s, Sh. Anurag Thakur, President HPOA and Member of Parliament, the players performance exuberated the spirit of young Himachal which reflected through their performance.
The day 2 comprised of high-octane performances in various disciplines including Wrestling, Boxing, Hockey and Judo among others. The audience came in abundance to cheer the athletes and charm of Hamirpur people worked for their home team, seizing a final place in Men & Women Basketball, Women Hockey. The Basketball finals are scheduled to take place later in the day, today and Hockey tomorrow between Hamirpur and Mandi. Further adding impetus to the first ever HP State Olympic Games Sh. Rajeev Mehta, Secretary General of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) graced the occasion as the Chief Guest of day two and presided the prize distribution ceremony.
Commenting at the event, Sh. Rajeev Mehta, Secretary General, IOA, said, “It is humbling to see an event of this stature in a small town like Hamirpur. This initiative will go a long way in promoting grassroot talent and I would like to congratulate Sh. Anurag Thakur for taking a momentous step in the direction of mobilizing youth and promoting the culture of sports.” He further added, “Be it National Champion Vikas Thakur, Judo’s National Champion Manish Kumar, National Gold Medalist, Ashutosh Kumar, Boxer from Mandi District, amongst all other athletes are playing towards brining laurels to the country. With such events, athletes get a chance to showcase their talent and skills.” In the Quarter-final match of freestyle wrestling in 84kg weight-category between Pankaj of Dist. Hamirpur and Tilakraj of Dist. Mandi, Pankaj emerged victorious with a score line of 14-12. In the beginning Pankaj was down 0-3 to Talikraj but inspired by cheering of locals, he turned the first round with a score of 6-4. He wrapped up the victory in round two with a final score of 14-12 to enter the semi-finals in thumping style.
The first semi-final of freestyle wrestling in 66kg weight-category witnessed a thoroughly exhilarating match between between Muskeen of Dist. Solan and Balbir of Dist. Una. In round 1, Solan was trailing by a score line of 3-8. However, in the last minute of the round, Muskeen displayed skills to win the round 9-8. With just 20 seconds remaining in round two, Balbir had taken a slender lead with the score of 12-11. With only 10 seconds remaining, Muskeen managed to go ahead with a score of 13-12. However, the match reached its climax when in the dying seconds Balbir eked out victory by the skin of his teeth to emerge victorious with a final score of 14-13 to roar into the finals.
In the semi-final in 75kg weight-category (Male) of Boxing, National-level Gold Medalist Ashish Kumar of Dist. Mandi squared off against Ashish Negi from Dist. Kinnaur. In a thoroughly one-sided affair, the national gold-medalist’s class shined-through as he won with a final judges verdict of 5:0
With punches galore, the semi-final in 64kg weight-category (Male) of Boxing between Mohd. Aish of Dist. Shimla and Puran Dev of Dist. Mandi resembled a battle. The match was a neck to neck fight with Mohd. Aish managing to emerge victorious in the first two rounds. The third round went to Puran Dev but it was Mohd. Aish who won the match with the final judges verdict of 3:2.