Panchkula, June 12: After being neck and neck from Day 1, hosts Haryana and defending champions Maharashtra will fittingly battle it out one last time on Monday, hoping to annex the Khelo India Youth Games, 2021 crown.
Amazingly, on the penultimate day too, both collected five gold medals each to maintain the status quo of the last couple of days, with Maharashtra holding a solitary gold advantage.
At the time of writing, Maharashtra had 42 gold, 35 silver and 30 bronze while Haryana had 41 gold, 35 silver and 42 bronze. This includes the mallakhamb pole gold won by Maharashtra that is yet to reflect in the official medals tally.
Haryana will, however, enter the final day with utmost confidence as 20 gold are up for grabs in boxing. They have as many as 12 boxers in the finals while Maharashtra have only four.
They are also in both the handball finals and would fancy at least one gold. The boys are up against Delhi and their girls against Himachal Pradesh.
Maharashtra too are in both the kho-kho finals and are expected to take these gold. Neither Haryana nor Maha are in the other finals, the two basketball matches and the Boys' table tennis and football summit clashes.
The day started with archers Riddhi (girls recurve) from Haryana and Maharashtra's Aditi Swami (girls compound) opening the gold medal account for their respective states.
Swimmer Apeksha Fernandes grabbed two gold medals in 200m butterfly and 50m breaststroke and table tennis star Diya Chitale defeated Delhi's Lakshita Narang 4-3 in the Girls singles final and Rishabh Ghubde added a gold for Maharashtra in boys pole mallakhamb.
However, if Maharashtra were hoping to open up a sizeable lead, Haryana judokas and swimmers had other plans. Local boys Ravi and Anil clinched the -81kg and +81kg judo golds before Veer Khattar grabbed the Boys 50m freestyle gold with a timing of 23.94s and Vansh Pannu made it four gold medals from the swimming pool with a timing of 27.84s in the Boys 50m breaststroke final.
Among other contingents, mallakhamb star Pankaj Gargama helped Madhya Pradesh cement their place in the top-10 standing with three gold medals (Boys all round, rope and hanging).
Kerala continued to dominate the Kalaripayattu events bagging three of the four gold medals on offer on the final day of competition to return with a rich haul of 14 gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze to stay in the top five. Karnataka remained on Number 3, thanks to their swimmers.
Tamil Nadu girl's football team added a gold medal to their tally with a 2-0 win over Jharkhand with two girls with the same name ¬ Shanmuga Priya and Shanmugapriya ¬ scoring a goal each.