A satisfying meet

S.THYAGARAJAN

P. Ramachandran is jubilant after winning the 400m. He set a meet mark.-VINO JOHN

IDENTIFIED as the final selection trials for the Commonwealth Games at Manchester and the ATF meet at Colombo, besides being a test of skills for the Asian Games at Busan, the eighth Federation Cup athletics meet in Chennai carried more than the usual significance. Fourteen new marks, seven each in the men's and women's sections, were created in the four-day competition. This underscored the efficacy of the training programmes charted out by the Amateur Athletics Federation of India and the form achieved in the previous events, the domestic circuit and the Inter-State championships.

It is not easy to focus on a particular individual in an athletic competition for excellence; each event has a glamour of its own, and even the 3000 steeplechase, an event often ignored by all sections, attracted attention in Chennai. A new time was recorded as well. But two competitors on the distaff side deserve special mention for the progress they have made and for coming in line with a medal prospect at the Asian Games in Busan.

Sunita Rani proved quite formidable in the 1500m. Her effort at the Chennai Federation Cup was the best in Asia this year.-VINO JOHN

Olympian K. M. Beenamol takes the top spot in this list. Not many, after the great P. T. Usha, have shown as much proficiency, professionalism and perfection as Beenamol on the Indian scene. That she crosses milestones with effortless ease is now an accepted fact in Indian athletics. Small wonder, that the diminutive Kerala star picked up the 400 metres gold with a new time of 51.81s. against her previous best of 52.8s. established in Lucknow 2000. Though not completely satisfied with the showing, Beenamol, always thirsting for greater glory, conceded that the consolation came from the fact that this being the best of the season recorded in the continent. This time put into the shade the best, 51.87 by the Sri Lankan, Damayanthi Darsha, in the Asian Grand Prix at Hyderabad. Beenamol clocked 51.96s. at the same event. It is true, that Jincy Philip and Manjima Kuriakose of CRPF pushed Beenamol a bit, but a tougher fight would have forced her to break the national mark of 51.21s.

Equally heart-warming was the return of Sunita Rani of Punjab Police in the metric mile after two-year hiatus. Tragedy could not have struck at a worst time for this indefatigable athlete before the Olympics. A stress fracture left her in the limbo raising a question mark over her future. Sheer mental strength put her on the path of recovery, and here was the gallant lady back on the track. And what more, she won the 5000 metres at the Bangalore Inter-State and moved into the metric mile at Chennai. Gallant, graceful and geared to be in the top bracket, Sunita clocked four minutes 08.60 in her first run. It might have been below her 4.08.01s. set in 1999, but the effort was the best in Asia this year. Ikuko Tamura of Japan with a time of 4:12.30s. was leading the table till Sunita's time came on board. Her return to athletics gives the country a tremendous prospect of a medal both in the ATF and the Asian Games, and, with a bit of luck, in the Commonwealth Games too.

Two other names, which often figure in the record lists in any competition, Anju Markos-George and Neelam J. Singh, were in focus as usual. Anju's showing was something unique in that she garnered three gold medals and two records, both in the jumps, long and triple. First was the long jump mark, a 0.10m. improvement from the 6.49m. set last year and a 13.29m. in triple on the last day, bettering her 13.27m. set in 1999 at Bangalore. Her third medal came in the 4 x 100 relay for Tamil Nadu. But it is time Anju concentrated more on moving into the 14m.zone in triple jump and over 6.80m in long jump.

Amarjit Singh's performance in the triple jump was laudable. He cleared 16.29, which is a new meet mark.-VINO JOHN

Neelam J. Singh slipped into her routine record breaking effort reaching a new meet target of 60.95m. in discus improving on her 59.41m. achieved in Bangalore 2001. Interestingly enough, Neelam J. Singh represented the Andhra Pradesh in this meet, like quite a handful, in search of higher prize money. For Hardeep Kaur of Punjab, the meet record of 61.31m in hammer throw was a noticeable improvement as was the 400 hurdles for Sahebani Oraon of Orissa with a time of 57.60s. against the meet record of 57.7 (hand timed) by M. K. Asha in 1999.

A performance which could have been ignored if not for the close scrutiny of an avid chronicler, Ram Murali Krishnan, was that of Amarjit Singh in triple jump. A fantastic leap of 16.29m. from this Punjab lad became the longest triple jump in India, leaving above only the national record of 16.79m. standing in the name of Mohinder Singh Gill in 1971, set in the United States. The previous best in this event was 16.05m by Pritpal Singh who finished second at 15.57m.

The best show among the men came in the quarter mile from P. Ramachandran of Tamil Nadu, working as a preventive officer with Chennai Customs. A persevering competitor who had rubbed shoulders with the top notchers like Paramjit Singh, Jata Shankar and the new sensation, Satvir Singh, Ramachandran has been a name to reckon with in the event in the last few years. His time of 45.66s. clipped the 46s. barrier and the record 46.0s. Bhupinder Singh of Haryana, Manoj Lal of Kerala and Satvir Singh of Army gave the event that formidable look which enhanced the value of Ramachandran's triumph.

Anand Menezes of Maharashtra, but donning the Andhra colours at Chennai, deserves a special mention for the manner in which he conquered the challenge in the 200 metres. His time of 20.90m broke his handtimed 20.8s, and the meet record of 20.95 by Clifford Joshua. A bronze medallist at 21.06 at SAF Games, Kathmandu, Menezes has set his target at 20.40s. for a medal at Busan. The 25-year-old star is coached by Santosh Varghese at the SAI Centre in Mumbai.

A star blossoming in the junior ranks is Andhra's P. Shankar. In the 400 hurdles, the 20-year-old product from SAI Centre-Secunderabad, clocked a fine time of 51.68s beating Sahib Singh's record of 52.26 set in Chennai in 1998. Having established his credentials in the junior echelons, Shankar, a student of Nizam's College, Secunderabad, began as a pentathlete. He even ventured into long jump and quarter mile before settling down to hurdles.

For the 25-year-old Chickmangalur born, Arun D'Souza, Chennai proved a historic venue. As the event was touching its climax on the third day, he opened a new vista in the 3000 metres steeplechase clocking 8:51.77s., beating a seven-year-old record of 8:54.62s. held by Narender Singh of Army. Arun has won a silver medal in the World Railway Games at Warsaw last year (8:50.92s) and a gold in the South Asian meet at Colombo (8:56.00s).

Anju Markos-George winning the long jump gold with a meet record to boot. She won the triple jump event as well with a meet record.-VINO JOHN

There was something to cheer about for Tamil Nadu which topped the chart among women with 97 points. Pole vaulter V. Sureka, collegian, covered herself with glory with a splendid effort of 3.20m, in her first attempt, overhauling the meet record of 3.15 by Karamjit Kaur. But her tilt at the National record 3.25m failed. M. Sangeetha in high jump (1.75m) and V. Jayalaksmi (100 and 200) performed well enough to give the team a boost. However, it must be recorded that Anju's triple gold was the chief contributing factor.

Taken on the whole, it was a very satisfying meet for all, and the Tamil Nadu Amateur Athletics Association, headed by the dynamic, Walter I. Davaram, and assisted by the energetic Neelasivalinga Swamy not to miss the sponsor, Best & Co. deserves the approbation from the sporting fraternity. That Tamil Nadu has played host three times to the Federation Cup from 1995 is in itself a tribute to the commitment and concern shown by the authorities for the cause of promoting competitive athletics. Small wonder therefore, the President of the Amateur Athletics Association of India, M. Suresh Kalmadi, who inaugurated the meet, urged Tamil Nadu to bid for the next Asian Track and Field Meet in Chennai, which has the best infrastructure.

Men:

100m: 1. Anand Menezes (AP) 10.49 (PB); 2. Piyush Pandey (Del) 10.53 (PB); 3. Sanjay Ghosh (Army) 10.56 (PB); 200m: 1. Anand Menezes (AP) 20.79 (NMR, PB); 2. Ajayraj Singh (Punjab Police) 21.18; 3. S. Srinivas (AP) 21.67; 400m: 1. P. Ramachandran (TN) 45.66 (NMR); 2. Bhupinder Singh (Har) 45.76 (PB); 3. K.J. Manoj Lal (Ker) 46.04 (PB); 800 m: 1. P.S. Primesh (Jhar) 1:49.61; 2. Jaya Kumar (Ker) 1:50.28; 3. Suhesh (Army) 1:50.75.

1,500m: 1. Kuldeep Kumar (UP) 3:44.18 (NMR, PB); 2. T.M. Sanjeev (CRPF) 3:47.71; 3. B.B. Manjunath (CRPF) 3:49.65; 5,000m: 1. Gojen Singh (Mani) 14:14.64; 2. Shivanand (AP) 14:24.16; 3. Aman Saini (HP) 14:27.05; 10,000m: 1. Gojen Singh (Mani) 30:37.00; 2. Jagannath Lakade (Army) 30:37.57; 3. K. Upendra (CRPF) 30:38.64; 110m hurdles: 1. Navnidh Singh (BSF) 14.64; 2. Harish Kushalappa (Kar) 14.76; 3. Kuldeep Singh (Army) 15.06.

400m hurdles: 1. P. Shankar (AP) 51.68 (NMR, PB); 2. Abhishek Pandey (UP) 51.88 (PB); 3. Rakesh Kanwar (Army) 51.89 (PB); 3,000m SC: 1. Arun D'Souza (AP) 8:51.77 (NMR); 2. Ranjan Kumar Jha (Army) 8:53.67; 3. T. D. Varghese (CRPF) 9:22.90.

K. M. Beenamol is far ahead of the pack in the 400m. The Kerala girl, who is proving to be unbeatable in this event, set a meet mark.-VINO JOHN

High jump: 1. Omvir Singh (Raj) 2.08; 2. Harishankar Roy (Ben) 2.08; 3. M. Loranse (Navy) 2.05; Pole vault: 1. Ramdhari Singh (Army) 4.60; 2. Gajanan Upadhyaya (Bih) 4.50; 3. Kulwant Singh (P. Police), Satpal Singh (P. Police) and K. Shyju (Army) 4.30; Long jump: 1. Amritpal Singh (P. Police) 7.73 (PB); 2. Satish Kumar (BSF) 7.49; 3. S. Lakshminarayan (TN) 7.26; Triple jump: 1. Amarjit Singh (Pun) 16.29 (NMR, PB); 2. Pritpal Singh (P. Police) 15.57; 3. Sanjay K. Dwivedi (Army) 15.35.

Shot put: 1. Bahadur Singh Sagoo (P. Police) 19.68 (NMR); 2. Navpreet Singh (Jhar) 19.33; 3. Shakti Singh (Har) 18.76; Discus throw: 1. Anil Kumar (ONGC) 58.34; 2. Hridyanand Singh (UP) 56.85; 3. Vikas Gowda (Kar) 54.49; Hammer throw: 1. Pramod Tiwari (AP) 65.87; 2. Rakesh Kumar (UP) 62.91; 3. Gurinderjit Singh (P. Police) 60.99; Javelin: 1. Jagdish Bishnoi (P. Police) 75.83; 2. Md. Fazal Ansari (Army) 75.36; 3. Harminder Singh (P. Police) 74.28;

Decathlon: 1. Anantha Padmanabha (Kar) 6459; 2. Dhananjay Rai (UP) 6419; 3. Ranjit Randhawa (Del) 6165; 20 km. walk: 1. Gurdev Singh (Army) 1::33:08; 2. Sitaram Singh (Army) 1::34:55; 3. Gurmit Singh (Pun) 1::37:48; 4x100m: 1. National "Select" Team (Sanjay Ghosh, Piyush Pandey, Anand Menezes, H. Jayachandran) 40.44; 2. Andhra Pradesh 41.09; 3. Army 41.18; 4x400m: 1. National "Select" Team (P. Ramachandran, K. J. Manoj Lal, Satbir Singh, Bhupinder Singh) 3:04.40; 2. Army 3:13.58; 3. Andhra Pradesh 3:17.57;

Women:

100m: 1. Saraswati Saha (Ben) 11.54; 2. V. Jayalakshmi (TN) 11.68 (PB); 3. Mandeep Kaur (Punjab Police) 11.79 (PB); 200m: 1. V. Jayalakshmi (TN) 23.88 (PB); 2. Sagardeep Kaur (P. Police) 24.22 (PB); 3. Mukti Saha (Ben) 24.39; 400m: 1. K.M. Beenamol (Ker) 51.81 (NMR) (Asian Leader); 2. Jincy Philip (CRPF) 52.71 (PB); 3. Manjima Kuriakose (CRPF) 53.62.

800m: 1. Madhuri A. Singh (PSEB) 2:03.88; 2. Sunita Dahiya (Har) 2:05.36 (PB); 3. Sunita Kumari (Del) 2:06.85; 1,500m: 1. Sunita Rani (P. Police) 4:08.60 (Asian Leader); 2. Sunita Kumari (Del) 4:18.56 (PB); 3. Geeta Manral (CRPF) 4:22.89; 5,000m: 1. Beant Kaur (P. Police) 16:54.11 (PB); 2. Pushpa Devi (Del) 17.01.97; 3. B. Nagamani (AP) 17:37.56.

10,000m: 1. Beant Kaur (P. Police) 35:22.94; 2. Pushpa Devi (Del) 35:48.25; 3. G. Pangadjame (Pondy) 45:25.02; 100m hurdles: 1. Anuradha Biswal (Ori) 13.59; 2. Poonam Bhojanna (Kar) 13.99 (PB); 3. K.N. Priya (TN) 14.41; 400m hurdles: 1. Sahebani Oram (Ori) 57.60 (NMR, PB); 2. Roselin Arokya Mary (TN) 59.08; 3. P. Uday Laxmi (AP) 59.48.

High jump: 1. M. Sangeetha (TN) 1.75; 2. Sahana Kumari (Kar) 1.73; 3. Sarita Patil (Mah) 1.71; Pole vault: 1. V. S. Surekha (TN) 3.20 (NMR, PB); 2. Karamjit Kaur (P. Police) 3.10; 3. Chetna Solanki 3.00 (PB); Long jump: 1. Anju B. George (TN) 6.59 (NMR); 2. Jetty C. Joseph (Ker) 6.25; 3. Ruta Patkar (Mah) 5.95.

Triple jump: 1. Anju B. George (TN) 13.29 (NMR); 2. M. Krishnapriya (TN) 12.86; 3. Kalpana Das (Ben) 12.41; Shot put: 1. Harwant Kaur (Pun) 15.39; 2. N. Latha (TN) 14.54; 3. Chaitali Paul (Ben) 14.34; Discus throw: 1. Neelam J. Singh (AP) 60.95 (NMR); 2. Harwant Kaur (Pun) 57.96; 3. Swaranjit Kaur (P. Police) 55.86.

Hammer throw: 1. Hardeep Kaur (Pun) 61.31 (NMR); 2. Rajwinder Kaur (P. Police) 54.96 (PB); 3. Alka Pandey (UP) 45.06; Javelin: 1. Suman Devi (UP) 48.36; 2. Manisha Mondal (Ben) 47.45; 3. N.M. Hemalatha (Kar) 45.82; Heptathlon: 1. J.J. Shoba (AP) 5801; 2. P. Bindu (Ben) 5148 (PB); 3. Sneha Princy (TN) 4774.

20 km. walk: 1. Deepmala Devi (Mani) 1::47:49 (PB); 2. Jasmin Kaur (P. Police) 1::47:50; 3. Y. Bala Devi (Ben) 1::50.57; 4x100m: 1. Tamil Nadu (K.N. Priya, Anju B. George, Noosheen Rajendran, V. Jayalakshmi) 47.65; 2. Punjab 47.70; 3. Andhra Pradesh 48.07;

4x400m: 1. National "Select" Team (Mukti Saha, Priya Rose, S. Geetha, Sagardeep Kaur) 3:36.74; 2. Tamil Nadu 3:49.07; 3. Punjab Police 3:54.03;

Team championship: Men: 1. Army (90 points), 2. Punjab Police (67), 3. Andhra Pradesh (62); Women: 1. Tamil Nadu (97 points), 2. Punjab Police (82), 3. Bengal (43);

Overall championship: 1. Punjab Police (149 points), 2. Tamil Nadu (132), 3. Andhra Pradesh (97).

Best athletes: Men: P. Ramachandran (Tamil Nadu); Women: Sunita Rani (Punjab Police).

(NMR - New Meet Record; PB - Personal Best) The results compiled by Ram. Murali Krishnan