Rubina upstages Gayathry, breaks national record

The young girl, who landed here with a personal best 1.76m, stunningly raised it to 1.81m and nailed the under-18 gold.

Haryana's Rubina Yadav who broke the under-18 girls high jump record on way to her maiden gold at the 33rd National junior athletics championship at Mangalagiri, near Guntur, on Thursday.   -  AFI

Not even in her wildest dreams did Rubina Yadav imagine she would be doing the sort of high jumps that she came up with on Thursday at the Acharya Nagarjuna University Stadium here.

The 16-year-old from Rewadi in Haryana jolted Kerala’s senior national champion Gayathry Sivakumar and went over the under-20 girls national record while pocketing her maiden gold at the National junior athletics championships in Mangalagiri.

The Nagarjuna University’s blue, bouncy track here has a reputation for helping high jumpers. Delhi’s Tejaswin Shankar and Gayathry came up with big jumps here during the Inter-State Nationals in July.

And on Thursday, it was Rubina’s turn to get lucky. The young girl, who landed here with a personal best 1.76m, stunningly raised it to 1.81m and nailed the under-18 gold.

That made Rubina, who took up high jump just a little over a year ago, the best under-18 Asian and the 15th best in her age group in the world, this year. And she missed qualifying for next year’s under-20 Worlds by just a centimetre.

“I did not expect this at all, I thought I would do only 1.78m,” said Rubina, who had lost to Gayathry twice earlier. “When I was running for 1.81m, I was just thinking, ‘I should do this… please, please only this, not more.’”

The event was loaded with drama. Gayathri, who has a personal best of 1.79m, which made her the country’s best jumper till Rubina’s fireworks here, takes a long run-up which stretches on to the track and thus she had to suffer frequent interruptions after clearing 1.71m as the 400m heats had also started by then. And once, while going for 1.73, the Kochi girl nearly clashed with a 400m runner who took off without any warning just before his event began.

“That did upset me… I was worried too,” said Gayathry who crashed into the bar twice after that and had to be content with 1.71m and the silver.

Meanwhile Thiruvananthapuram SAI’s Abhinandh Sundaresan, who took up running only two years ago, upset former under-18 Asian 800m champion Beant Singh and won the under-20 boys 1500m gold, his maiden medal in an AFI Nationals.

“I thought Beant would get it, he was making a fast dash to the finish but I managed to hold on well,” said Abhinandh who is coached by Joy Joseph. Beant was fourth.

Three new records were set on the opening day but since none from the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) was present, there are doubts whether the AFI would ratify them.

“We got an e-mail from NADA that two male DCOs (dope control officers) would be coming here. But nobody has turned up and no samples were taken,” said an AFI source.

Gold medallists:


Under-20: 1500m: Abhinandh Sundaresan (Ker) 3:54.84s. 5000m: Kisan Tadvi (Mah) 14:42.36s. Shot put: Ashish Bhalothia (Har) 18.50m.

Under-18: 1500m: Ankit (AFI) 3:56.90s. High jump: Gurjeet Singh (Har) 2.04m. Discus throw: Aniket Kala (Utr) 54.15m. Javelin throw: Yashvir Singh (Har) 69.83m.    

Under-16: 2000m: Amit Jangid (Raj) 5:37.25s. High jump: Ajay Sagar (Kar) 1.97m.

Under-14: Long jump: Avinash Kumar (Bih) 6.79m NR, OR 6.63. Triathlon: Shivang Meena (Del) 1779 pts.


Under-20: 1500m: Sukhwant Kaur (Raj) 4:42.08s. 5000m: Kavita Yadav (UP) 18:56.15s.

Under-18: 1500m: Suman Rani (AFI-Pun) 4:44.78s. High jump: Rubina Yadav (Har) 1.81m NR, OR Swapna Barman 1.71 (Gayathry Sivakumar, Ker, 1.71 ER).

Under-16: 2000m: Ankita Dhyani (Utr) 6:36.83s. Long jump: P.S. Prabhvathi (Ker) 5.58m. Javelin throw: Jyoti (Har) 41.24m NR, OR 39.69. Discus throw: Pooja (Har) 39.29m.

Under-14: Shot put: Bharti (Har) 11.35m. Triathlon: Srusthi Shetty (Mah) 1694 pts.