There was little expected in terms of results or stand-out performances on the opening day of the 59th Inter-State Athletics Championships here on Tuesday and little happened. Even in events that were expected to produce some exciting contest, there wasn't much to cheer about.
The biggest hope was Archana Suseendran, who set the track ablaze with a personal best of 23.18 seconds 10 days ago to be the fastest Indian over the distance this season, but she could only manage a time of 23.39 seconds here. The 25-year old, though unhappy at her timing, was nevertheless satisfied.
“Given the weather, there was little time to recover between the heats in the morning and then the final in the afternoon. In fact, I was only expecting something in the 23.30-range since I could hardly sleep last night due to some health issues and so I was not completely ready for the race,” she said.
The 25-year old denied that lack of competition or big names had any affect. “I only look at my time, in Patiala during camps also there are only 2-3 runners so that doesn’t matter. But now I am looking forward to the Indian Grand Prix in Delhi next week,” said the Tamil Nadu sprinter who, interestingly, must be among the rare professional athletes who doesn’t use any food supplements.
“My father opposed taking any supplement and that’s how I have been always. Coach Vallerri (400m) has worked really hard on our endurance during camps and that’s what has helped me improve my timing so much,” she added.
The closest contest was expected in the men’s 5000m between former champion Govindan Lakshaman and his successor Murli Kumar Gavit but it was a no-contest. While Lakshman managed to regain the top spot in a time of 14:34.30, Gavit was way back at ninth spot almost 23 seconds behind, with neither coming anywhere close to their top performances.
Dharun, Mohan in semis
Among the big names in action, Dharun Ayyasamy – the national record holder in 400m hurdles – Mohan Kumar Raja and Kunhu Mohammed all clocked over 48 seconds but easily made the cut for the semifinals. The slow races were attributed to the hot and sultry weather but there are hopes of improving in the final.
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