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Khelo India Para Games: Haryana's Latika makes winning start; Mary Kom to give away medals (Ld)

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New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) Seasoned star Latika Thakur from Haryana caught the eye on Day 1 of badminton competitions at the Khelo India Para Games on Sunday, reaching the semifinals in women's singles SU 5 category at the gymnastics hall of the Indira Gandhi Stadium here.

Latika, who has won many medals in the international arena, defeated Riddhi Thacker of Gujarat 21-11, 21-8 in the women’s singles quarterfinals (SU 5 category).

In a match in which both players displayed plenty of enthusiasm, Latika rode on her experience to win the 16-minute encounter at the gymnastics hall of the Indira Gandhi Stadium here.

Neeraj, from Haryana, was also in good form in the women’s singles (SL3) category, defeating Sanjana Kumari from Jharkhand in three long games. The result for Neeraj was 17-21, 21-10, 21-13. 21-10, 21-13.

In the same category, Amudha Saravanan from Tamil Nadu also showed plenty of pluck to enter the semi-finals. She defeated Sangeeta Yadav from Uttar Pradesh 21-5, 21-5.

Conditions in the capital are cold but the enthusiasm of the participating athletes from several states is high as the Para Khelo India Games are being held for the first time.

Tulika Jadhao from Maharashtra was also in good form, securing a semi-final place by defeating Purnima Pandey from Uttar Pradesh in straight games as the opening day witnessed a total of 66 matches being played at the IG Stadium.

Monday sees the start of Para-Athletics at the JLN Stadium with a host of medal ceremonies lined up. Boxing legend Mary Kom will be in attendance to give away the Para Athletics medals on Monday. The opening ceremony of the games and the knockout rounds of para-badminton competitions are also scheduled on Monday at the IG Stadium.

Over 1400 participants from 32 states and Union Territories will take part in the prestigious event to be held across three venues in New Delhi from December 10 to 17.

--IANS

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