Her run to the bar may look a bit awkward but K.H. Saliha sure knows how to fly. And fly she did as the 21-year-old from Thrissur shocked Kerala record-holder Angel P. Devasia and grabbed the high jump gold in the Tony Daniel Memorial 67 th State athletics championships at the C.H. Muhammed Koya Stadium on Friday.
While Angel, Kerala’s flying queen for the last 10 years with a personal best of 1.83m, struggled on the runway in wet conditions, Saliha was close to her best and took the gold with 1.71m. She tried to better her personal best of 1.73 but failed in all her attempts at 1.74.
“This is the first time I’m beating Angel but somehow I felt that I would beat her this time. My training had been regular and that made me confident. And I thought I’d get a new personal best,” Sahila, who has medals from the Khelo India and National varsities meets, told The Hindu.
“I don’t know why I have this odd style but I think this run-up is better for me as I have long strides. And I take some six or seven steps.”
Meanwhile Angel was deeply disappointed after the rare loss.
“I did not think this would happen today, somehow I could not get a proper bounce on the runway,” said the 28-year-old.
The men’s and women’s 5000m saw two long-standing meet records fall. Ernakulam’s K. Anand Krishna broke Sasidharan’s 50-year-old meet record by 17s – he had rewritten the 1500m meet record on Thursday – while Palakkad’s Reeba Anna George bettered former Asian Games champion Preeja Sreedharan’s 22-year-old meet record.
Ernakulam won the overall championship and also the men’s and women’s team honours.
The results (gold medallists only):
Men: 200m: P.K. Jishnu Prasad (Idk) 21.52s. 800M: Salman Farookh (Tvm) 1:50.64s. 5000M: K. Anand Krishna (Ekm) 14:29.40s MR, OR 14:46.40s, 1973. 400m hurdles: Arunjith (Ekm) 52.84s.
20,000m race walk: Bibin George Anto (Ekm) 1:21:41.04s MR, OR 1:33:44.00.
Triple jump: Akash M. Varghese (Ekm) 16.06m.
High jump: Jomon Joy (Klm) & Robert Babu (Ekm) 2.04m.
Hammer throw: Nithin Saji (Koz) 49.27m.
Decathlon: M.S. Aravind (Ktm) 5730 pts
Women: 200m: A.P. Shilbi (Tvm) 24.13s. 800M: C. Chanthini (Ekm) 2:13.15s. 5000M: Reeba Anna George (Pkd) 17:52.56s MR, OR Preeja Sreedharan’s 17:53.10, 2001. 400m hurdles: V.K. Salini (Idk) 1:01.48s.
20,000m race walk: Asha Soman (Ekm) 1:57:49.14s. Triple jump: Aleena Saji (Ktm) 12.45m.
High jump: K.H. Saliha (Tsr) 1.71m.
Hammer throw: Kessia Mariam Benny (Ekm) 48.16m.
Heptathlon: Mariya Thomas (Ktm) 4494 pts.
4X400m relay: Kottayam (4:07.20s).
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