National Inter-University Athletics C’ship: N. S. Simi, S. Dhanalakshmi shine

Simi and Dhanalakshmi shine in the 100m heats at the National Inter-University Athletics Championship at Alva's College.

N. S. Simi made it to the 100m semifinal at the 79th National inter-university athletics championships as the third fastest sprinter with a time of 11.83s.   -  Sojan Philip

She had warmed up nicely for her 100m heat which was supposed to start at 12.30 p.m. But Mahatma Gandhi University’s N. S. Simi’s first round at the 79th National inter-university athletics championships began more than three hours late at the Alva’s College’s Swaraj Stadium here on Saturday evening.

Twenty-seven heats were run in the women’s 100m while the men had 41, and since the day was very hot and humid, life was tough for the athletes, especially sprinters. “The long wait for the event to start was frustrating,” said Simi, whose time (11.52s) in the recent MG University meet at Kottayam was better than Zenia Ayrton’s varsities national record of 11.60s set in 1992.

And the complicated format here added to the athletes’ anxiety. None of the winners of the heats were sure whether they had progressed to the next round, the semifinal. In the end, almost an hour after the heats were over, the 24 athletes for the semifinals, based on the fastest timings, were known.

Simi, who moved from Hubli to Pala’s Alphonsa College — she felt her prospects in sport were brighter there — made the cut as the third fastest sprinter in the women’s 100m heats with 11.83s. But many eyes were on Bharathidasan University’s S. Dhanalakshmi.

Dhanalakshmi made the semifinal as the fastest girl here, running 100m in 11.72 sec.   -  Sojan Philip


Fastest girl

Dhanalakshmi had shocked Tamil Nadu’s newly-crowned National Open champion A. Chandralekha in her university meet at Tiruchirappalli recently and she did not disappoint here, making the semifinal as the fastest girl here with 11.72. With Simi and Dhanalakshmi in hot form, the next two rounds of the 100m on Sunday could see varsities national record tumble. With Madurai Kamaraj’s V. Revathy (11.75s) and defending champion Gujar Chaitrali, from Kolhapur’s Shivaji University, also making the cut, there could be a hot fight before the fastest girl emerges.

The host Mangalore University’s Tamil Nadu star Elakkiya Dasan was the fastest qualifier to the men’s 100m semifinal with 10.64s. There were no finals on the opening day.

The five-day championships were inaugurated by G. Parameshwar, the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, in a colourful function in the evening.