A championship sans glamour

Record breaker… Bharatinder Singh Cheema who achieved the distinction of re-writing the only National record of the championship. The decathlete logged 7658 points in the two-day event.-Pics:K. MURALIKUMAR

With only one National record and two meet records erased at the Inter-State Championship, the event was a major disappointment. Avinash Nair reports.

There were plenty of misses and upsets in the four-day 51st Senior Inter-State Athletics Championship that ended with only a solitary National record and two meet records being set, at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore recently.

Quite a few big names failed to put in an appearance despite the ‘mandatory participation' tag being attached to the championship, what with the Asian Championships (Kobe, July 7-10) and the World Championships (Daegu, South Korea, August 27-September 4) just round the corner.

Sinimol Paulose skipping the meet as per her doctor's advice (she was advised complete rest as she was recovering from a viral fever) was understandable, but the absence of athletes such as shot putters Omprakash and Navpreet and top sprinters such as Najeeb Qureshi and Sandeep Sarkaria robbed the championship of its glamour.

Decathlete Bharatinder Singh Cheema, the 24-year-old strapping lad from Haryana who is employed with the Central Railway (Mumbai), achieved the distinction of re-writing the only National record of the championship.

“After the first day, (five events) I was hopeful of doing much better, but then lost terribly in pole vault and 1500m. However, my tally of 7658 points bested the record set by Jora Singh (7502 points) in New Delhi in 2006. My previous best was 7229 points and I achieved that by the ninth event,” said Bharatinder.

Staying focussed…Mayookha Johny, the winner of the women's long jump event. She cleared 6.63 metres to better Anju Bobby George's previous meet record of 6.53m.-

“I was too tired and could not put my best foot forward in the final event — the 1500m — and finished a disappointing fifth in 5:24.18s which fetched me only 429 points. But then, I am now confident of doing well in the meets ahead and I will iron out my flaws by then,” he added.

Mayookha Johny, having broken the 14-metre barrier in Indian women's triple jump, came into the championship with her focus on qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. The 23-year-old long jumper from Kerala, who now trains under Shyam Kumar, a former National long jump champion, missed out on the ‘B' standard mark by 0.02 metres but nevertheless bettered Anju Bobby George's previous meet record of 6.53 metres with a 6.63m effort. Mayookha then skipped the triple jump event complaining of fatigue.

“Did about five meets (the Asian GP and the Indian GP) in the last month or so and was not in the frame of mind to do another triple jump,” said Shyam Kumar of his ward. He, however, sounded optimistic: “It's just a matter of time before she does achieve her target, which is qualifying for the London Olympics. She is a 15 metres-plus jumper and should be doing it by this year end. I have made a few corrections (to her technique), reducing her run-up a bit, which will bear results soon enough for her to attain her goal.”

Sudha Singh, the Asian Games Gold medallist in the 3000-metre steeplechase, ran a lone race as her main contender O. P. Jaisha faded away after the fourth lap to win the gold in 10:01.24s. Though Sudha's effort obliterated Jaisha's year-old meet record of 10:03.05s, it was way behind her own mark of 9:55.67s set in the Asian Games in Guangzhou.

“There was no competition… no challenge for me to run faster,” said Sudha after the race.

Renjith Maheswary's campaign ended on a disappointing note as he finished second best to Punjab's Arpinder Singh (16.32m) in the men's triple jump. He managed just 15.96m which was well below his National best of 17.07m set last year.

Winning unchallenged…Sudha Singh of Uttar Pradesh with the gold medal she won in the women's 3000m steeplechase.-

Satinder Singh of Punjab pipped Asian Games medallist Joseph Abraham to the post in the men's 400m hurdles.

“This is the first time in three-four years that I am getting the better of Joseph,” said Satinder, who is employed with the Northern Railway and is based in Ludhiana.

Sajeesh Joseph of Kerala too achieved his maiden triumph over comeback man Ghamanda Ram (Rajasthan) in the men's 800m with a personal best of 1:47.34s. It was an effort that won Sajeesh the ‘best athlete' of the meet (1103 points) in the men's section.

In the women's section, Mayookha Johny (1123 points; long jump gold with a meet record) was adjudged the ‘best athlete'.

Coming back after injury lay-offs, Tintu Luka (800m) and A. C. Ashwini (400m) — who created euphoria in the country with her Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medal-winning efforts — posted victories.

The tussle between Harwant Kaur and Krishna Poonia in women's discus throw, and Preeja Sreedharan and Kavita Raut in the 5000m and 10000m proved that the future of India at the continental-level is bright. Kashinath Naik, a bronze medallist at the Commonwealth Games, touched 73.77m on his fourth attempt to land the men's javelin gold. He then decried the inexplicable attitude of the Federation towards the throwers, especially javelin, saying, “There is no direction or methods.

Kashinath Naik who won the men's javelin gold. He, however, had some harsh words for his federation, saying it had "no direction or methods".-

We (javelin throwers) are given mediocre coaches and restricted to the camps in Patiala while the conditions are the most ideal either in Bangalore or Pune. But then, there is nobody to address our problems.”

The evening showers threatened to spoil the schedule but mercifully, the championship went through without much disturbance as the Karnataka Athletic Association (KAA) did a fairly good job with the conduct of the meet.

THE RESULTS

Men — 10000m: 1. Keta Ram (Rajasthan) 29:20.35s, 2. Suresh Kumar Patel (UP) 29:25.42s, 3. V. L. Dangi (Maharashtra) 30:10.45s. Discus: 1. Arjun (Delhi) 53.56m, 2. Sunil Kumar (Jharkhand) 51.23m, 3. Vikas Punia (Rajasthan) 49.17m. 100m: 1. Shameer Mon (Kerala) 10.58s, 2. Krishna Rane (Maharashtra) 10.61s, 3. Ritesh Anand (Jharkhand) 10.71s. 400m: 1. S. K. Mortaza (WB) 47.05s, 2. Davinder Singh (Punjab) 47.32s, 3. J. Premanand (MP) 47.80s. 1500m: 1. Ghamanda Ram (Rajasthan) 3:48.12s, 2. Pranjal Gogoi (Maharashtra) 3:48.43s, 3. Sandeep (Haryana) 3:48.52. 3000m steeplechase: 1. Ramachandran (TN) 8:42.58s (NMR), 2. Th. Sanjit Luwang (Manipur) 8:44.26s, 3. Jaiveer Malik (Haryana) 8:45.16s. 20km walk:1. Maniram Patel (MP) 1:29:35.00s, 2. Irfan (Kerala) 1:30:34.00s, 3. Manjit Singh (Punjab) 1:31:34.00s. Triple jump: 1. Arpinder Singh (Punjab) 16.32m, 2. Renjith Maheswary (TN) 15.96m, 3. Bipin Dev (Maharashtra) 15.86m. Decathlon: 1. Bharatinder Singh (Haryana) 7658 points (National Record; old: Jora Singh, 7502), 2. Rahul Kumar (Rajasthan) 7599, 3. Chandrahas Khushwaha (UP) 6537. 5000m: 1. Suresh Kumar Patel (UP) 14:11.47s, 2. Arjun Pradhan (Uttarakhand) 14:13.70s, 3. Rahul Kumar Pal (Maharashtra) 14:16.82s. 400m hurdles: 1. Satinder Singh (Punjab) 51.13s, 2. Joseph Abraham (Kerala) 51.41s, 3. Avin A. Thomas (Kerala) 51.89s. High jump: 1. Jithin Thomas (Maharashtra) 2.10m, 2. L. Yogaraj (TN) 2.10, 3. Nikhil Chittarasu (TN) 2.10m. Shot put: 1. Saurav Vij (Delhi) 18.99m, 2. Budhisatva (MP) 17.98m, 3. Jagroop Singh (Punjab) 17.85m. Hammer: 1. Harvinder Singh Dagar (UP) 66.21m, 2. Chandrodaya Narayan (UP) 63.44m, 3. Shiv Kumar (Uttarakhand) 61.90m. 200m: 1. Joseph (Karnataka) 21.82s, 2. Manikanda Arumugam (TN) 21.88, 3. Mayur Malbiya (Gujarat) 21.90s. 800m: 1. Sajeesh Joseph (Kerala) 1:47.34s, 2. Ghamanda Ram (Rajasthan) 1:47.37s, 3. Satnam Singh (Punjab) 1:48.31s. 110m hurdles: 1. Surendhar (TN) 14.62s, 2. M. Krish Beethovan (Manipur) 14.66s, 3. M. K. Sumanth (Karnataka) 15.14s. 4x100m relay: 1. Tamil Nadu (Vijaya Kumar, Manikanda Arumugam, Praveen Kumar, Al Ameen) 41.33s, 2. Kerala 41.58s, 3. Karnataka 41.83s. 4x400m relay: 1. Kerala (K. Shareef, V. B. Bineesh, Avin A. Thomas, Jithin Paul) 3:14.08s, 2. Karnataka 3:14.59s, 3. Punjab 3:15.51s. Long jump: 1. Amritpal Singh (Punjab) 7.81m, 2. Ankit Sharma (MP) 7.74m, 3. Sudhir (Haryana) 7.70m. Javelin: 1. Kashinath Naik (Karnataka) 73.77m, 2. Amit Majumdar (Bihar) 71.18m, 3. Rajender Singh (Haryana) 70.68m.

Women — 10000m: 1. Preeja Sreedharan (Kerala) 34:33.48s, 2. Kavita Raut (Maharashtra) 34:33.64s, 3. Surya Loganathan (TN) 35:27.18s. Long jump: 1. Mayookha Johny (Kerala) 6.63m (NMR; Old: Anju George, 6.53m), 2. M. A. Prajusha (Kerala) 6.47m, 3. Chalu Choudhary (Delhi) 6.24m. Hammer: 1. Manju Bala (Rajasthan) 55.94m, 2. Anitha Abraham (Kerala) 54.88m, 3. Sarita (Gujarat) 52.66m. Javelin: 1. S. Saraswati (TN) 52.00m, 2. Suman Devi (UP) 46.95m, 3. Rupinder Kaur (Punjab) 46.11m. 100m: 1. P. K. Priya (Kerala) 11.97s, 2. Asha Roy (WB) 12.20s, 3. N. Sudha (AP) 12.22s. 400m: 1. A. C. Ashwini (Karnataka) 52.82s, 2. Mandeep Kaur (Punjab) 53.21s, 3. Jauna Murmu (Orissa) 53.81s. 1500m: 1. Jaisha (Punjab) 4:21.32s, 2. Jhuma Khatun (Jharkhand) 4:23.89s, 3. S. R. Bindu (Kerala) 4:25.56s. 20km walk: 1. Deepmala Devi (Jharkhand) 1:47:19.29s, 2. Gourav Kumari (MP) 1:52:26.09s, 3. Ranjana Gupta (MP) 1:52:26.09s. High jump: 1. Sahana Kumari (Karnataka) 1.81m, 2. Mallika Mondal (WB) 1.76m, 3. Siji (Kerala) 1.73m. 5000m: 1. Kavita Raut (Maharashtra) 17:00.89s, 2. L. Surya (TN) 17:01.00s, 3. Preeja Sreedharan (Kerala) 17:01.22s. 400m hurdles: 1. Sapinder Kaur (Punjab) 1:00.56s, 2. M. S. Darshana (Kerala) 1:01.45s, 3. K. A. Soniya (Kerala) 1:02.65. Pole vault: 1. R. Remya (Kerala) 3.40m, 2. Khyati Vakharia (Karnataka) 3.40m, 3. Kiranbir Kaur (Punjab) 3.30m. Triple jump: 1. M. A. Prajusha (Kerala) 13.53m, 2. Shradha Ghule (Maharashtra) 12.80m, 3. Amitha Baby (Kerala) 12.61m. Discus: 1. Harwant Kaur (Punjab) 58.78m, 2. Krishna Poonia (Rajasthan) 55.45m, 3. Praveen Kumari (Rajasthan) 49.21m. Heptathlon: 1. Sushmita Singha Roy (WB) 5625 points, 2. Navpreet Kaur (Punjab) 5070 points, 3. D. Kapurmala (TN) 4911 points. 200m: 1. K. Mrudula (AP) 24.93s, 2. Archana (TN) 25.27s, 3. Rebecca Jose (Karnataka) 25.38s. 800m: 1. Tintu Luka (Kerala) 2:05.32s, 2. S. R. Bindu (Kerala) 2:10.32s, 3. Pavithra (TN) 2:12.60s. 100m hurdles: 1. M. M. Anju (Kerala) 13.90s, 2. Kalaivani (TN) 14.60s, 3. V. Hani (Chhattisgarh) 15.22s. 3000m steeplechase: 1. Sudha Singh (UP) 10:01.24s ( NMR; Old: O. P. Jaisha 10:03.05s), 2. Priyanka Singh (UP) 10:21.37s, 3. O. P. Jaisha (Punjab) 10:25.10s. 4x100m relay: 1. Kerala (C. Shilpa, Neethu Rajan, Shamna Muhammed, P. K. Priya) 46.99s, 2. TN 47.65s, 3. WB 47.87s. 4x400m relay: 1. Kerala (R. Anu, C. Arya, Tiana Mary Thomas, Tintu Luka) 3:44.81s, 2. TN 4:00.51s, 3. AP 4:03.71s. Shot put: 1. P. Udaya Lakshmi (AP) 14.14m, 2. Vasumathi (TN) 13.24m, 3. Sonia (Haryana) 13.13m.