Ancy Sojan found joy and a career best as she celebrated her 21st birthday on Tuesday, nailing the women’s long jump gold in the first ever Indian Open jumps event at the Chandrasekharan Nair stadium.

The conditions were torrid to say the least as the summer heat and high humidity seemed to worry the jumpers through the initial part of the competition. But then, the Thrissur girl overcame the odds as she found her rhythm in her jump to post an impressive effort of 6.51m.

Ancy had done just 6.36m at the 2020 Khelo India in Guwahati, but as she improved it upon by a good 15 cm, the icing on the cake was that she could also get past the qualifying norms of both the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.

The Kerala girl, anyway, was in the lead after the second round, with 6.29m and always looked good for the title before coming up with her killer effort in the fifth. Nayana James, also of Kerala, took silver with a final attempt of 6.35m, while, Pooja Saini (Rajasthan) bagged bronze with a best of 6.32m.

The men’s long jump too did turn interesting as inter-State champion Mohammed Anees Yahiya came close to upsetting the apple cart of favourite M. Sreeshankar with an outstanding effort of 8.15m in his last attempt. The National record holder had jumped 8.14m in his opening attempt and then 8.10m in his fifth. Thus it was a touch and go, but Sreeshankar held his nerves quite admirably and eventually took gold with a winning effort of 8.17m. Both he and Yahiya too were well over the qualifying mark of 7.98m for both the CWG and the Asian Games.

Eldose Paul (Kerala), winner of the men’s triple jump, and Abhinaya Shetty (Karnataka), the gold medallist in women’s high jump too had reasons to be happy, getting past the qualifying norm.

The results:

Men: High jump; 1. Chethan Balasubramanya (Kar), 2.09m, 2. Manu Francis (Ker), 2.09m, 3. Swadhin Kumar Majhi (Odi), 2.09m. Long jump: 1. M. Sreeshankar (Ker), 8.17m, 2. Mohammed Anees Yahiya (Ker), 8.15m, 3. Yugant Shekhar Singh (UP), 7.61m. Triple jump: 1. Eldose Paul (Ker), 16.93m, 2. U. Karthik (Ker), 16.87m, 3. Abdulla Aboobacker (Ker), 16.81m. Pole vault: 1. Avneesh Kumar (UP), 4.90m, 2. A. Gnana Sone (TN), 4.70m, 3. Sakthi Mahendran (TN), 4.50m.

Women: High jump: 1. Abhinaya Shetty (Kar), 1.82m, 2. Gracena Merly (TN), 1.77m, 3. Angel Devasia (Ker), 1.76m. Long jump: 1. Ancy Sojan (Ker), 6.51m, 2. Nayana James (Ker), 6.35m, 3. Pooja Saini (Raj), 6.32m. Triple jump: 1. Aleena Jose (Ker), 12.68m, 2. V. Sheena (Ker), 12.67m, 3. Neena Shibu (Ker), 12.43m.