A few years ago, when she was at the Usha School of Athletics, there were expectations that K. Sneha would turn out to be a very talented quartermiler, one who would follow in her academy-mate Jisna Mathew’s footsteps.
But Sneha’s track career ran into a lot of trouble. Four years ago, she left Usha’s academy and then took a year’s break. She began training under coach P.P. Paul after that. On Thursday, the 24-year-old clocked a personal best 54.31s (in the semifinal) on her way to the 400m gold at the Tony Daniel Memorial 67th Kerala State senior athletics championships at the C.H. Muhammed Koya Stadium here.
Meanwhile, V.K. Vismaya, who had anchored India to the 4x400m women’s relay gold at the last Asian Games in Jakarta, failed to live up to expectations, finishing third in her semifinal in 56.21s, her slowest time this season. The international later skipped the final.
Sneha, who topped the semifinal, which featured Vismaya, took the lead after the last corner in the final. But she appeared to choke a bit in the finishing stages but still managed to stave off a strong challenge from Linet George to grab the gold.
“I want to try and get into the Indian team, 53s is the standard time to get in, I want to try that in the Open Nationals. I’m confident of running 53 this year, I must do that,” Sneha told Sportstar after the victory.
A few minutes after that, Ernakulam’s P.S. Prabhavathi, the under-23 National champion, jolted the 2018 Asian Games silver medallist V. Neena to take the women’s long jump gold.
Neena, third in the country’s all-time long jump list with her 6.66m which came in 2016 (season-best 6.14m, June), said she had not fully recovered from a recent injury.
Five meet records, including one in the men’s long jump where 22-year-old K.M. Sreekanth improved his personal best by nearly 40cm to touch 7.78m, were sent on the championships’ opening day.
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