National athletics championships: Ailing Anilda wins women’s 400m

The Rio Olympian was vomiting a few minutes before the start of 400m final, but that did not stop the 24-year-old from winning comfortably and walk into the Indian mile relay team for the coming London Worlds.

Anilda Thomas (No. 453) clocked a time of 53.20s to win the women's 400m gold medal.   -  V. RAJU

She was running her first major final this season but Kerala’s Anilda Thomas was far from fresh. The Rio Olympian was vomiting a few minutes before the start of 400m final at the 57th National senior inter-State athletics championships here on Tuesday evening.

READ: Anilda, Anu may make relay team for Worlds

Still, that did not stop the 24-year-old from winning comfortably at the Acharya Nagarjuna Stadium and walk into the Indian mile relay team for the coming London Worlds.

“The last few days were terrible. I had a running stomach and I was vomiting a lot too. I was completely drained,” said Anilda who clocked 53.20s.

There was a thrilling battle behind her, between Odisha’s Jauna Murmu and Kerala’s Anu Raghavan. But Anu, who was running second, appeared to give up near the finish and Jauna sneaked past.

“I couldn’t…it was just too much, I’m completely drained,” said Anu, the 400m hurdles silver medallist at the Asians who had suffered a bout of food poisoning last week. All the three are expected to be given berths in the Indian relay team.

Meanwhile, the gritty Lili Das virtually stuck to P.U. Chitra’s heels and came up with a strong finishing kick to upset the Asian champion and take the women’s 1500m title. For Lili, who had won the 800m earlier, it was a fine double.

Unlike last year’s Indian Grand Prix in Bengaluru, the ‘last chance’ for the Rio Olympics, which saw a series of stunning performances, the Guntur meet turned out to be a quiet affair with none making the qualification grade for the Worlds. The wet weather and slushy ground only made matters worse.

Triple jumper Arpinder Singh, who was just five centimetres behind the London’s entry standard in the recent Federation Cup in Patiala with a 16.75m, won the gold but with 16.34m. “We had a series of meets, I was too tired, couldn’t push myself,” said Arpinder.

Tamil Nadu’s V.K. Elakkiya Dasan, who emerged as the fastest man, finished as the happiest athlete.

A long jumper who took a break from the event to rest a painful heel, Elakkiya was running the 100m in just his second major competition after finishing fourth in the Federation Cup. And he improved his personal best, from 10.61 to 10.56s.

“I did not expect this, I started training for the 100m only a few months ago,” said Elakkiya. He said that Odisha’s national record holder Amiya Kumar Mallick had pulled out of the semifinal with a muscle problem.

With Dutee Chand and Srabani Nanda missing, Kerala’s Merlin Joseph emerged as the fastest woman.

Kerala won the overall championship and the women’s team title while Haryana won the women’s title.

The results:

Men: 100m: 1. Elakkiya Dasan (TN) 10.56s, 2. Anuroop John (Ker) 10.72, 3. Ch. Sudhakar (Tel) 10.72. 400m: 1. Amoj Jacob (Del) 46.50s, 2. Kunhu Muhammed (AFI) 46.71, 3. Mohan Kumar (TN) 46.73. 1500m: 1. Ajay Kumar Saroj (UP) 3:45.88s, 2. Jinson Johnson (Ker) 3:46.30, 3. Manjit Singh (Har) 3:49.30. 10,000m: 1. Pradeep Singh Chaudhary (Utk) 30:19.36s, 2. Ranjeet Kumar Patel (Mah) 30:30.59, 3. Kalidas Hirave (Mah) 30:37.94. 4x400m relay: 1. TN (Yogesh, Rajesh Kumar, Ranga Raj, Mohan Kumar, 3:11.52s), 2. Kerala (3:11.65), 3. Haryana (3:12.08). 110m hurdles: 1. Siddhanth Thingalaya (Mah) 13.76s MR, OR own, 13.81; 2. Suresh (TN) 14.41, 3. Debarjan Murmu (WB) 14.64. Triple jump: 1. Arpinder Singh (Har) 16.34m, 2. Abdulla Aboobacker (Ker) 16.30, 3. Sanal Scaria (Ker) 15.79. Hammer throw: 1. Bhupinder Singh (UP) 64.81m, 2. Neeraj Kumar (AP) 64.73, 3. Sukhdev Singh (Har) 61.41.

Women: 100m: 1. Merlin Joseph (Ker) 11.65s, 2. Himashree Roy (WB) 12.07, 3. Chandra Lekha (TN) 12.23. 400m: 1. Anilda Thomas (Ker) 53.20s, 2. Jauna Murmu (Odi) 53.52, 3. Anu Raghavan (Ker) 53.68. 1500m: 1. Lili Das (WB) 4:28.00s, 2. P.U. Chitra (Ker) 4:28.87, 3. Pramila Yadav (UP) 4:29.33. 10,000m: 1. Sanjivani Jadhav (AFI) 35:21.33s, 2. Phollan Pal (Asm) 36:51.51, 3. Dimple Singh (Cht) 36:51.56.  4x400m relay: 1. Kerala (Jerin Joseph, Anilda Thomas, V.K. Vismaya, Anu Raghavan) 3:42.36s, 2. Karnataka (3:44.03), 3. TN (3:52.06). 100m hurdles: 1. Purnima Hembram (Odi) 13.72s, 2. Anurupa Kumari (Jha) 13.88, 3. Swapna Barman (WB) 14.06. Discus throw: 1. Himani Singh (UP) 46.60m, 2. Jhuma Basu (WB) 42.93, 3. Baljit Kaur (Pun) 41.43.

Overall championship: Kerala (159 pts). Team championship: Men: Haryana (79.5). Women: Kerala (105 pts).