Young Jeswin Aldrin and Ancy Sojan were on a zone of their own, getting to their career bests in the long jump events of the first leg of the Indian Grand Prix at the Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium here on Sunday.
But for the great performances uncorked by these two, the rest of the events simply fell flat, with the seasoned Hima Das and national shot put record holder Manpreet Kaur even biting the dust, though unexpectedly.
Ancy, the Kerala sand-kicker continued her love affair with the pit, as she powered her way to an exciting win in the women’s long jump, often competing against herself as her rivals could hardly get going. The Thrissur collegian, who had posted an impressive 6.51m in the Indian Open jumps competition, started the day with 6.20m before gaining strength to strength through the series.
A foul in the second was followed by her best of the day as Ancy got to 6.55m – the second ever best effort in Indian soil – and then leapt to an equally superb 6.52m in the fourth. She returned a distance of 6.40m in her fifth, before overstepping on her sixth.
The unassuming Tamil Nadu lad, Jeswin, was hardly considered a favourite before the men’s long jump final, the tag firmly resting on Mohammed Anees Yahiya, who had got to 8.15m in the season opener last fortnight. But, as the last year’s inter-State champion failed to get to his element, Aldrin, a second-year degree student, hailing from Tirunelveli, clawed his way to the top with a terrific sequence.
The 21-year-old, who had won the South Zone boys under-20 title with a best of 7.97m, last year in Kozhikode, was in the lead straight away before uncorking an almost unbelievable series, getting past the coveted 8m-mark with his last three jumps – 8.09m in the fourth, followed by an improved 8.11m and 8.20m. The last effort, being the second-best in the event by an Indian- behind national record holder M. Sreeshankar (8.26m), who missed today’s action.