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Twin sister act steals spotlight at Khelo India University Games

Bengaluru: Local hero Srihari Nataraj fumbled in men’s 50m breaststroke but it was the pair of twin sisters – Aarti and Jyoti Patil – who stole the limelight on the second day of swimming events at the Khelo India University Games hosted by Jain University at their Jain Global Campus here on Tuesday.

On the first day on Monday, in the women’s 200m breaststroke event, Jyoti won gold with a time of 2 minutes 46.54 seconds. Her twin sister Aarti settled for silver with a time of 2:47.05s. On the second day, it was Aarti’s turn to exact revenge and improve her own one-year-old record.

In the women’s 50m butterfly, she pipped Jyoti at the touch pad winning at 34.95s while the latter took 35.68s.

The sisters have been trained by their father, Baji Rao, a havildar with Mumbai Police at the Worli Police Swimming pool for the past two decades. Baji is also a long distance swimmer and has represented India in international events. Now, he has two daughters who joke about beating each other at the pinnacle of collegiate sports in the country.

Aarti had told Jyoti during dinner on Monday that she would get the better of her.

“I did not actually say that I will beat her, but I insisted that I will win today,” said Aarti cheekily. “I’m glad with my performance as I fought off my rivals, including Jyoti and Rita Verma.”

The medal ceremony for the 50m Breaststroke Women final (Khelo India)

Over the years, the twins have brought home more than a dozen international medals.

“In 2015 alone, they brought home 13 medals from the South Asian School Games. I won’t be surprised if the two bring more laurels to our country, particularly from Asian Games in the near future,” their father Baji told The Bridge.

The twins are final year postgraduate students of political science at Kirti M Doongursee College, Mumbai.

‘Beating Srihari not an upset’

Meanwhile, in the men’s 50m breaststroke event on Tuesday, Danush Suresh of Anna University upstaged Tokyo Olympian Srihari Nataraj, who finished seventh and last. Danush scooped his second gold with a time of 28.90s, obliterating the 24 year-old Games record of 29.57s set by Anish Arora in 1998.

“It’s not a big upset at all. Srihari is good at backstroke and freestyle events while I’m good at breaststroke. So my performance came as expected. Srihari might have entered the event to boost the medals tally of his university, who are also the hosts,” said Danush. Danush had also won the gold with a new Games record time in men’s 200m breaststroke on the first day.

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