Ankit, Anas and Srabani make it to Rio

Ankit, Anas shatter national records as they book Rio berths; Srabani joins the party.

Ankit Sharma had won the men's long jump event at the South Asian Games in Guwahati earlier this year.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Long jumper Ankit Sharma hit an amazing high, taking the national record to 8.19m as he qualified for the Rio Olympics at the G. Kosanov memorial athletics meet at Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Sunday.

Ankit, whose previous best of 8.04m came more than a year ago during the National Games in Thiruvananthapuram, broke the national record twice during the day, with his three jumps in the final series being 8.17m, 8.19 and 8.14. India has never seen such a stunning series before and Ankit, who will be 24 next month, won the event comfortably. The Rio Olympics qualification standard in the event is 8.15m.

Meanwhile Tamil Nadu’s Federation Cup champion K. Prem Kumar, the national record holder with his 8.09m which came three years ago, could only manage a disappointing 7.36m.

Odisha’s Srabani Nanda, who had been active in many European meets the last few weeks, also made the Rio entry grade clocking 23.07s against the Rio standard of 23.20.

However, there was disappointment for Kerala’s Mayookha Johny who crashed out in the womens’s triple jump with a ‘no mark’ against her name.

Meanwhile, Kerala quartermiler Muhammed Anas broke the national record for the second time at the Polish National Championship in Bydgoszcz on Saturday and also qualified for this August’s Rio Olympics.

Anas, who had clocked 45.44 in the heats, topped the race in 45.40s, the exact time to qualify for Rio while Tamil Nadu’s Asian Games bronze medallist Arokia Rajiv was second in 45.60.

While Indian athletes hit a high in Kazakhstan and Poland, Krishna Poonia who was one of the country’s best athletes at the last Olympics in London in 2012, struggled with her form and could manage only 54.88m while winning the women’s discus throw title at the Cavalier TC Summer Throws Series at Portland, USA, on Saturday. The Olympics qualification mark in the event is 61m.

The results:

At Almaty, Kazakhstan:

Men: Long jump: 1. Ankit Sharma (Ind) 8.19m, national record, OR K. Premkumar 8.09m, 8. K. Premkumar (Ind) 7.36.

Women: 200m: 1. Viktoriya Zyabkhina (Kaz) 22.66m, 2. Olga Safronova (Kaz) 22.95, 3. Srabani Nanda (Ind) 23.07.

At Bydgoszcs, Poland:

Men’s 400m: 1. Muhammed Anas (Ind) 45.40s, 2. Arokia Rajiv (Ind) 45.60.

At Portland, Oregon (USA):

Women’s discus throw: 1. Krishna Poonia (Ind) 54.88m.