National Jr Athletics: Sprint hurdler Sapna qualifies for under-20 Worlds

Sapna Kumari broke Tamil Nadu’s G. Gayatri’s eight-year-old meet record in the

Jharkhand's Sapna Kumari broke the under-20 girls 100m hurdles meet record and qualified for next year's under-20 Worlds in Finland.   -  AFI

His father, grandfather and uncles were all footballers. S. Lokesh began sport as a footballer too but his dad advised him to take up an individual event so that he would not have to rely on others to come up. So Lokesh took up long jump and the 100m eight years ago.

On Friday, the 17-year-old from Bengaluru came up with a personal best 7.43m while winning the under-18 boys long jump gold in the 33rd Coromandel National junior athletics championships at the Acharya Nagarjuna University Stadium, Mangalagiri, near here.

Bedros Bedrosian, the National jumps coach, feels that Lokesh could hit it big. “He could be around eight metres next year,” said the Romanian who has been training Lokesh in Thiruvananthapuram for the last three months. However the youngster, a six-footer, has set himself a target of 7.55m that will take him to Finland for next year’s under-20 Worlds.

Lokesh, a silver medallist at the Schools Worlds in Turkey last year, grabbed the lead with his second jump, 7.14m, and produced his best in the fourth. The silver medallist, UP’s Govind Kumar, was nearly 30 cms behind.

Karnataka's S. Lokesh won the under-18 long jump gold in the 33rd National junior athletics championship at Mangalagiri, near Guntur, on Friday.   -  AFI

  Two national records and two meet marks fell on the championship’s second day.

Haryana’s Dipender Dabas bettered his own under-18 boys shot put national record, pushing it to 20.99m, while Maharashtra’s Vikas Yadav accounted for the other mark with his 74.73m in the under-16 boys javelin throw.


But sprint hurdler Sapna Kumari could be one celebrating the most. For the 18-year-old from Jharkhand, who broke Tamil Nadu’s G. Gayatri’s eight-year-old meet record, also qualified for the under-20 Worlds with her time of 14.09s (entry standard 14.10s).

“But let me check whether this meet can be counted towards qualification purposes,” said C.K. Valson, the Athletics Federation of India Secretary.
There were a few issues with the photo-finish camera on Thursday and early on Friday and this could be the reason for Valson’s doubts. But Tony Daniel, the Chairman of AFI’s Technical Committee, said that the camera problem had been set right before today’s finals.

Kerala’s Aparna Roy had a better time in the under-18 category, 14.01s, but her time will not be counted as her event had shorter hurdles (76cm) as compared to the under-20 event (84cm).

The winners (gold medallists only)


Under-20: 110m hurdles: Sachin Babu (Ker) 14.08s.
Under-18: 110m hurdles: Punga Soren (Odi) 14.00s. Long jump: S. Lokesh (Kar) 7.43m. Shot put: Dipender Dabas (Har) 20.99m NR, OR 20.63. Hammer throw: Damneet Singh (AFI-Punjab) 74.89m. 10,000m walk: Sanjay Kumar (Har) 43:05.14s.
Under-16: 100m hurdles: Aditya Prakash (Jha) 13.37s. Javelin throw: Vikas Yadav (Mah) 74.73m NR, OR 72.05. Hammer throw: Vipin Kumar (UP) 59.71m.
Under-14: 600m: Rabi Khora (Odisha) 1:25.75.


Under-20: 100m hurdles: Sapna Kumari (Jharkhand) 14.09s. Pole vault: Arsha Babu (Ker) 3.30m. Javelin throw: Monika (Har) 46.06m. 10,000 walk: Bandana Patel (UP) 52:02.55.
Under-18: 100m hurdles: Aparna Roy (Ker) 14.01s MR, OR 14.02. Javelin throw: 1. N. Hemamalini (TN) 42.58m.
Under-16: 100m hurdles: 1. Thabitha (TN) 14.56s.
Under-14: 600m: Gauthami (Kar) 1:41.13.