National c'ship: Annu Rani sets national record

Javelin thrower Annu Rani set a new national record with a throw of 60.01 metres at the 56th National Open Athletics Championship.

Annu Rani: 'My competition is with myself and my only focus is on improving my performance and my target.'   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar (File Photo)

For quite some time now, Annu Rani has been competing against herself in the absence of any serious competition in the country. The 24-year old javelin thrower did the same on Thursday, bettering her own mark to set a new national record with a throw of 60.01 metres at the 56th National Open Athletics Championship here.

The previous record of 59.87m was set in Hyderabad earlier this year. With the previous meet record (58.85, 2015) also against her name, Annu has been improving gradually over the past two years. But she made light of the absence of anyone to push her further.

“I don't bother about who participates or not or whether someone else throws better. My competition is with myself and my only focus is on improving my performance and my target,” she said.

Adding that her target here was to reach the 62-metre mark, which incidentally was the qualifying standard for Rio Olympics, Annu said, “The weather was not an issue since I practice in Patiala in similar hot and humid weather. But better climate could have helped. I train with former Commonwealth Games medalist Kashinath Naik and I only focus on the target set for me by my coach. Now I am hoping to qualify and focus on the Asian Championships next year.”

Delhi youth equals record

Also impressing was 17-year old high jumper Tejaswin Shankar, who equalled the four-year old meet record of 2.22m in his first senior domestic event. The Delhi boy, who has been training for the last three years, was thrilled. His previous personal best was a silver-winning 2.17m at the SAF Games in Guwahati earlier this year, which was also his first ever international event.

“I had gone for the SAF Junior Championships selection trials in Patiala last week and managed 2.15m. It was only then that my coach Dinesh Kumar suggested I come here to keep the momentum and also get a feel of the track since the SAF meet would be held here only. This competition was never planned and so feels even better,” he said.

The Class XII student of Delhi's Sardar Patel Vidyalaya admitted that this performance had given him confidence to take the Asian Championships seriously. “I was happy working on my mark and training hard at the junior level. But now I feel I can compete at the senior level too. Even at Guwahati, I pulled my groin muscle and could not continue else I could have done better there also. That injury forced me to skip the Junior World Championships despite qualifying. Hopefully, this performance here will impress the selectors and coaches enough to include me in the national camp,” he said.

Results:

Men: 20km walk: 1. Devendar (SSCB, 1:29:48.00), 2. Chandan Singh (SSCB, 1:29:53.00), 3. Jai Bhagwan (AIPCB, 1:30:33.00); 400m Hurdles: 1. Jithin Paul (RSPB, 50.38), 2. Jabir MP (SSCB, 50.74), 3. Jagadeesh (RSPB, 51.10); Pole Vault: 1. J. Preeth (RSPB, 4.95), 2. Dhirendra Kumar (Guj, 4.85), 3. Balakrishna P. (Kar, 4.85); High Jump: 1. Tejaswin Shankar (Del, 2.22), 2. Chetan B. (SSCB, 2.20), 3. Sreenith Mohan (Ker, 2.20); Discus Throw: 1. Arjun (RSPB, 56.67), 2. Kirpa Singh (ONGC, 56.41), 3. Dharmaraj (SSCB, 54.39); 3000m Steeplechase: 1. Naveen (SSCB, 8:43.18), 2. Durga Bahadur (Utk, 8:46.21), 3. Ramesh Bishnoi (Raj, 8:46.32).

Women:

400m Hurdles: 1. Santosh Kumari (AIPCB, 58.98), 2. Sarita Ben Gayakwad (Guj, 59.32), 2. Ayana Thomas (AIPCB, 59.80); Triple Jump: 1. Sheena NV (Ker, 13.54), 2. Karthika (TN, 13.10), 3. Shilpa Chacko (Ker, 13.09); Javelin Throw: 1. Annu rani (RSPB, 60.01), 2. Poonam Rani (ONGC, 56.73), 3. Rashmi K. (RSPB, 51.56); 3000m Steeplechase: 1. Preeti Lamba (ONGC, 10:31.88), 2. Chinta Yadav (UP, 10:32.88), 3. Chavi Yadav (UP, 10:43.25).