It was all a case of wrong timing. Some of the country's top stars struck form a little too late as the 59 National Open Athletics Championships warmed up on the second day at the Birsa Munda Stadium on Friday.
Dutee Chand was on her own as she bettered her own 100m national record from 11.26s to 11.22s in the semifinals and an hour later emerged as the fastest woman comfortably. That time would have taken her to the semifinal at the recent World championships in Doha.
“I could not perform well in Doha (11.48s in heats there) due to heat, my body was tired and I felt stiff too,” said the 23-year-old from Odisha, the World University Games champion.
“Here, I felt relaxed. I wanted to try 11.15s (Tokyo Olympics entry standard) but the final was too close to the semifinal, I did not have time to recover.”
Earlier National long jump national record holder M. Sreeshankar produced a massive first round effort of 7.93m in the qualification series, a jump that would have carried him to the final at the Worlds.
“Had he got this in Doha, he would have gone to another level,” said S. Murali, Sreeshankar's coach and dad, a bit disappointed. The final will be held on Saturday evening.
Meanwhile both M.P. Jabir, the winner, and A. Dharun came under the meet record time in the men's 400m hurdles final.
“I think the Tokyo qualification time (48.90s) is possible,” said Jabir, the two-time Asian bronze medallist.
Dharun was more confident. “I've already gone faster than the Tokyo standard with my 48.80s, only thing it came too early, in Patiala in March while the qualification period started on May 1,” he said.
“I'm just 60 per cent fit now and had just expected 50s today...I can make the Olympic time when I'm fully ready.”
Weary Jinson loses
Ajay Kumar Saroj, the 2017 Asian champion in Bhubaneswar, defeated Asian Games gold medallist Jinson Johnson for the men's 1500m gold but the latter did not have much rest after the Worlds and ran the heats on Thursday a few hours after landing in Ranchi.
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