“He is almost out,” said star quartermiler Amoj Jacob as he gave a helpful shoulder to a very wobbly Rajesh Ramesh after the men’s 400m final in the 26 th Federation Cup athletics championships at the Birsa Munda Stadium in Ranchi on Tuesday night.
Rajesh had indeed given his all, shocking national record-holder Muhammed Anas and Muhammed Ajmal to take the title with a personal best time of 45.75s (previous best 46.09s) that made him the Indian leader in the quartermile this year. He could not stand steady even some 30 minutes after the race.
“I expected a personal best but I thought it would be something like 45.90s. This was a big surprise,” said the 24-year-old from Tamil Nadu, who pulled the second-placed Ajmal to a personal best too. Anas was third.
The day was packed with controversy, suspense and long wait and Priya Mohan – who initially finished second in the women’s 400m to Maharashtra’s Aishwarya Mishra – was declared the winner.
Aishwarya won the race comfortably in 52.57s but Priya filed a protest immediately after claiming that the Maharashtra athlete had cut the lane during the race.
“She (Aishwarya) cut the lane in the second corner,” said Priya, who fought hard to stave off a strong challenge from Sonia Baishya, and nearly one and half hours after the race, the verdict came in her favour and Aishwarya was disqualified.
There was much controversy after the men’s 100m too and the results were out nearly 40 minutes after the final.
“No one knows what’s happening, I think the photo-finish camera was not working,” said Amiya, the national record holder, who endured a long wait before being told that he was the winner.
“One athlete said that he couldn’t hear the gun.”
Srabani Nanda, who landed in India from her training base in Jamaica just three days ago, made the trip memorable by producing a season-best 11.57s for the women’s gold in a season-best time.
Meanwhile national javelin throw record holder Annu Rani experimented with a few things as she picked an easy gold in with a last-round effort of 59.24m in her season-opener.
“My coach (German Werner Daniels) had changed a lot of things, my technique and everything...and this is my season-opener too, so I took this as a sort of training competition,” said Rani whose personal best is 63.82m.
“We are focusing on the World Championships (in Budapest, August).”
Tajinderpal Singh Toor, the national shot put record holder, picked an easy gold with 20.42m. All his four legal throws were over 20m.
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