Harmilan surprises herself by breaking national record

Naresh, Taranjeet fastest; Ajmal, Vithya taste maiden quartermile success.

Harmilan Bains after her women's 1,500m national record at the 60th National Open in Warangal on Thursday.   -  AFI

“I think it's going to be a national record,” Harmilan Bains said in excitement as she waited for the 1500m results to appear on the giant screen of the 60th National Open athletics championships at the Nehru Stadium here on Thursday.

And when they did, she virtually collapsed in joy. For her gold-winning time, 4:05.39s broke Sunita Rani's 19-year-old national record which came with the Busan Asian Games gold in 2002.

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Harmilan had been waiting desperately for something like this on the road to the Olympics for she was lying on the 49 spot in the Tokyo rankings with only 45 berths available.

“That hurts me but okay, God's plan. It took me almost a month to get out of it (missing the Olympics),” the 23-year-old from Punjab told Sportstar after the victory.

Delhi's K.M. Chanda tailed Harmilan for a good part of the race but the Punjab runner broke away after the bell and won by nearly a 60m margin.

“I didn't expect this national record, not even my parents. I was like, it's only two seconds from my personal best so I thought I must go for that. But I wasn't very sure.”

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With next year loaded with major events, Harmilan feels she can go faster by another two seconds by improving her last lap. Her parents, Amandeep Singh Bains and Madhuri Saxena, were both international middle distance runners in their primeand Harmilan has had eye-popping progress in the last few years. Her best two years ago was 4:21.08, now she is a 4:05 runner.

Meanwhile, Services champion Muhammed Ajmal made his 400m debut a winning one in a personal best 46.84s. That was just his second quartermile ever.

“It has come in the right time since we have the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games next year. I'm going to focus on the 400m from now on, I hop I get a call to join the National camp,” said the 23-year-old Navyman from Kerala who was running the 100 and 200m earlier.

Tamil Nadu's R. Vithya Ramraj won her maiden national gold in the women's 400m in a season-best 53.79s beating Kiran Pahal who been consistently finishing runner-up to M.R. Poovamma in national meets early this year.

AP's Naresh Kumar (10.30s) and Delhi’s Taranjeet Kaur (11.50s) emerged as the fastest man and woman respectively.

The men's 100m was called back thrice and top favourite K.S. Pranav, who won the Services title recently in a stunning 10.28s, was sent off with a false start. And Naresh Kumar, from Guntur, won in an impressive 10.30s which broke Anil Kumar's 20-year-old meet record.

Delhi's Taranjeet Kaur, who broke her collar bone when her scooter was knocked down a couple of years ago, shocked Tamil Nadu's Archana Suseendran to take the women's 100 gold in a personal best 11.50s, improving her previous best 11.70s by a big margin.

Haryana's Parvej Khan, virtually an unknown name, shocked Railway's two-time Asian medallist Ajay Kumar Saroj for the men's 1500m gold while Rajasthan's overnight leader Yaman Deep Sharma walked away as the best allround athlete by winning the decathlon defeating Federation Cup and inter-State National champion Usaid Khan.

Haryana's very talented Sahil Silwal took the men's javelin title with a last-round effort while Asian Games heptathlon champion Swapna Barman won the women's high jump. There was a bit of a disappointment in the women's 20km race walk with Olympian Bhawna Jat dropping out after about 5km.

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The results (finals):

Men: 100m: 1. K. Naresh Kumar (AP) 10.30s MR, OR 10.37; 2. Amlan Borgohain (Asm) 10.34; 3. Harjit Singh (Ser) 10.34. 400m: 1. Muhammed Ajmal (Ser) 46,84s, 2. Gajanand Mistry (Guj) 46.85; 3. Ayush Dabas (Har) 47.10. 1500m: 1. Parvej Khan (Har) 3:42.64s; 2. Ajay Kumar Saroj (Rly) 3:44.05; 3. Rahul (Delhi) 3:44.57. 4x100m relay: 1. Railways (R. Swaminathan, Elakkiadasan, Sudhakar Chintha, Siva Kumar) 40.04s; 2. Tamil Nadu 40.44; 3. Services 40.88.

Long jump: 1. R Swaminathan (Rly) 7.73m; 2. Jeswin Aldrin (TN) 7.67; 3. Nirmal Sabu (Rly) 7.67.

Javelin throw: 1. Sahil Silwal (Har) 77.79m; 2. D.P. Manu (Ser) 74.92; 3. Rohit Yadav (Rly) 74.28.

Decathlon: 1. Yaman Deep Sharma (Raj) 6757 pts; 2. Usaid Khan (Ser) 6702; 3. K.R. Gokul (Ser) 6618. 20km Race Walk: 1. Chandan Singh (Utkd) 1:29:21.00s; 2. Devender Singh (Ser) 1:29:26.00; 3. Juned (Rly) 1:29:38.00.

Women: 100m: 1. Taranjeet Kaur (Del) 11.50s; 2. Archana Suseendran (TN) 11.68; 3. N.S. Simi (Rly) 11.78. 400m: 1. R. Vithya Ramraj (TN) 53.79s; 2. Nancy (Har) 54.41; 3. Kiran Pahal (Rly) 54.80. 1500m: 1. Harmilan Kaur Bains (Punjab) 4:05.39s NR, Old Sunita Rani's 4:06.03s, 2002; 2. K.M. Chanda (Del) 4:18.24; 3. Deeksha (MP) 4:21.34. 4x100m relay: 1. Railways (A.T. Daneshwari, C. Kanimozhi, N.S. Simi, Himashree Roy) 45.84s; 2. Tamil Nadu 47.06; 3. Telangana 47.18.

High Jump: 1. Swapna Barman (Rly) 1.78m; 2, Gracena G. Merly (TN) 1.76; 3. Rekha (Har) 1.76m. Shot Put: 1. Kiran Baliyan (UP) 16.99m; 2. Manpreet Kaur (Pun) 16.40; 3. Manpreet Kaur (Rly) 16.35. 20km race Walk: 1. Sonal Sukhwal (Raj) 1:42:15.00; 2. Ravina (Rl) 1:44.17.00; 3. Payal (Utkd) 1:48:12.00 (Olympian Bhawna Jat, DNF).

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