THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala women grabbed their second straight gold in water polo trouncing West Bengal in their final league match on Saturday. Having already topped the table with three wins, Kerala gave their rivals no escape route and smothered the latter 6-1.
Stepping on the attack from the word go, the hosts took a handy 3-0 lead in the first quarter. In the subsequent quarters, they maintained the stronghold and settled the issue with ease.
Trained by Anil Kumar of Pirappancode, Kerala girls had earlier pulverised Manipur (24-0), Karnataka (9-2) and Maharashtra (13-5). Out of 13 girls in the team, seven hail from Manikkal panchayath in Thiruvananthapuram district.
“The team had shown good coordination and that was the secret of our win,” said coach Anil Kumar. Sreekutty J, the captain, termed the win as the result of hard work.
“The whole team worked hard during training as well as the competition. All credit goes to the coach,” Sreekutty said.In the men’s event, Kerala ended runners-up. Condemned to be second best in the previous four editions to nemesis Kerala, Services gave it to the hosts this time, edging them in the final via penalty shoot-out.
Services, who were denied the services of skipper Shyam Kumar due to an injury, were leading after three quarters 5-3. But with the crowd getting behind them, Kerala fought back in the last quarter. With 8 seconds left, R Abhilash levelled the scores at 7-7, pushing the gripping tie into the shoot-out.
Services converted all five chances while Kerala’s V S Adarsh missed out on the first throw, as it ended 12-10 in favour of Services.