India’s women paddlers on Saturday moved into the semi-finals of the team events beating Maldives and Pakistan in the 12th South Asian Games here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Sports Hall.

The Indian women team comprising Manika Batra, Madhurika Patkar and Pooja Sahasrabudhe swept aside the Maldivian trio of Jumana Fathimath, Mueena Mohamed and Rafa Nazim 3-0 without dropping a single game.

The Indian women paddlers then beat Pakistan 3-0, again without dropping a game, with a team comprising Mouma Das, K. Shamini and Madhurika.

“We are playing very well. Our aim now is to win the finals but we have to work hard for that,” Manika told IANS.

However, she admitted that the next match against the Sri Lankan will be a tougher one.

“They (Sri Lanka) are a pretty good side but we are all prepared to take on them on Saturday,” Manika added.

Sri Lanka and Nepal look to be the better teams on the other side of the draw. Both got past their first round opponents, Bangladesh and Afghanistan respectively, 3-0. The two teams then met in the second round, and this match proved to be the most competitive of the day.

Nabita Shrestha (Nepal) got past Ruvini Kannangura 3-2 in an enthralling see-saw encounter, but after that, the Lankans bagged the next three matches with ease to take the contest 3-1.

Sri Lanka is clubbed with Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Group B. Group A consists of India, Pakistan and Maldives.

Round three action will take place on Sunday from 10:00 am. Pakistan and Maldives will battle it out to see who progresses along with India from Group A, while Sri Lanka takes on Afghanistan and Nepal play Bangladesh. The top two countries from each group will progress to the semi-finals.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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