Arpinder hits season's best at Inter-State championships but falls short of qualifying mark

Triple jumper Arpinder Singh managed 16.83 metres -- his best this season and 4th best overall – but it wasn’t enough for the 2019 World Championships qualification.

Asian Games champion Arpinder Singh fell short of the World Championships qualification mark by 12 centimetres, a combination of factors not helping his cause.   -  Special Arrangement

He was the biggest hope to qualify for the World Championships from the 59th Inter-State Athletics meet here but triple jumper Arpinder Singh fell short of the mark by 12 centimetres, a combination of factors not helping his cause.

Arpinder still managed 16.83 metres -- his best this season and 4th best overall – but it wasn’t enough for Doha (16.95m). “It is disappointing. The hot, humid weather was not ideal but I was prepared for it. I was not prepared for seven jumps, though,” he admitted. Karnataka’s Karthik U was the surprise runner-up with a massive 16.80m jump, followed by Mohd. Salahuddin, who managed 16.79m for his personal best.

The seven jumps were courtesy a goof-up by the technical officials during the event who abruptly changed the order of participation for the final round. Initially the last participant to complete a round, Arpinder was asked to be the first to complete his sixth and final jump. “I kept telling them I was to go last but they refused to listen. I had no time to even consult my coaches,” Arpinder shrugged.

His final jump went for 16.80m before his coaches – Antony Yaich of JSW and national coach Bibhu Mathews – confronted the officials who accepted their mistake and cancelled the jump allowing him to go again. By then, though, he was completely drained.

After a long period of constantly changing coaches and training style, Arpinder has been training at JSW’s Inspire Institute of Sports for the past four months and the difference was visible in both his technique and physique. “I have lost a lot of weight without losing any strength, which has helped with the speed as well. Also, I now go all out right from the starting line instead of gradually building pace before take-off. There are a few other chances but it’s only been four months so things will take time to work out,” he explained.

Yaich, on his part, admitted Arpinder’s technique was not what had been planned or worked upon. “But he is a very quick learner. The problem is sometimes the start is not right, sometimes the technique and sometimes the final take-off. It’s like pieces of a puzzle. The day all of them come together, he will be at a different level,” Yaich promised. He now has the final Grand Prix, in Delhi on September 5, to get the mark.

It was also the only event where the medallists pushed each other to give their best on a day that saw another round of ordinary performances and below-par achievements. Dharun Ayyasamy and Mohan Raja, the two federation entries in the 400m, had ordinary outings. The only other high point was Iranian Mahdi Pirjahan clocking 49.33s in the 400mH, narrowly missing the Worlds mark (49.00) but managing to set a new meet record.

NADA finally deputes 5-member team

Sportsar’s repeated attempts to highlight the absence of anti-doping officials here seem to have had the desired impact with NADA finally deputing a 5-member team for the remaining two days of the meet.

An official mail to the organisers late on Wednesday afternoon seeking technical support finally confirmed the visit. The mail names technical official Yogesh Sharma and Dope Control Officer Yashpreet Kaur from Delhi along with three local male scientists for collecting the samples. However, those who won medals across 19 disciplines on the first two days are unlikely to be available for the same.

Interestingly, perhaps for the first time ever there was a public announcement of NADA officials arriving at a meet. The announce even asked the medallists of the 19 disciplines, “to stay back in the city and give their samples on Thursday”. It now remains to be seen how many samples NADA is able to manage in the next days even though some of the big names in the fray – including triple jumper Arpinder Singh and quartermiler Dharun Ayyasamy – have already finished their events here.

Action taken against officials for goof-up

The AFI, meanwhile, held an emergent meeting late in the evening and decided to take strict action against the erring officials. Nupur, the technical official responsible for the goof-up has been suspended for one year from all meets by the AFI’s technical committee that met to decide on the issue under the chairmanship of Ravinder Chaudhary. 

The results (Day 2):

Men:

200m: Nithin (TN, 20.91s), 2. Akshay Nain (Del, 21.39s), 3. Abhinav Panwar (Del, 21.47s); 400m: 1. Alex Antony (46.17s), 2. Harsh Singh (Har, 46.64s), 3. Sachin Roby (Kar, 46.96s); 800m: 1. Mohammed P (Ker, 1:48.35), 2. Mujamil Ameer (TN, 1:49.03), 3. Ankit (Har, 1:49.95); 400mH: 1. Mahdi Pirjahan (Iri, 49.33s), 2. Jagdeesh Chandra (Kar, 50.85s), 3. Jithin Paul (Ker, 15.92s); Triple Jump: 1. Arpinder Singh (Pun, 16.83m), 2. Karthik U (Kar, 16.80m), 3. Md. Salahuddin (TN, 16.79m); Shot Put: 1. Inderjeet Singh (Har, 19.73m), 2. Jasdeep Dhillon (Pun, 17.77m), 3. Shakti Rathore (Raj, 17.20m); 20km walk: 1. Sandeep Kumar (Har, 1:27:25.47), 2. Irfan KT (Ker, 1:28:20.94), 3. Chandan Singh (Utk, 1:28:21.29).

Women:

800m: 1. Chitra Unnikrishnan (Ker, 2:02.96), 2. Jessy Joseph (Ker, 2:07.09), 3. Pramila Yadav (UP, 2:07.62); 400mH: 1. Arpitha Manjunatha (Kar, 59.98s), 2. Aarthi (TN, 1:00.48), 3. Dhivya J (TN, 1:01.06); Long Jump: 1. Nayana James (TN, 6:20m), 2. Priyanka Kerketta (Jha, 6.13m), 3. Harshini Saravanan (TN, 6.07m).