Another routine affair

THIS was the first meet of the season for a majority of the athletes. However, this also happened to be the fifth meet of the season for many of the `elite' athletes.


THIS was the first meet of the season for a majority of the athletes. However, this also happened to be the fifth meet of the season for many of the `elite' athletes. Yet, the ONGC Federation Cup athletics championships produced very little by way of contests or records.

Anil Kumar exults after finishing the 100m in a season leading time of 10.36s.-RAJEEV BHATT

The contests should have been much more intense than in the preceding National circuit meets, if only for the fact that a few places were at stake in the Indian team for the Asian Grand Prix series. No one, barring sprinter Anil Kumar, did anything to grab a place in the team.

Anil was clear about his task. He had run the 200m all of last season, keeping an eye on the 400m as well, but not really competing over that distance. He knew the Asian Grand Prix circuit did not have the 200 metres. He thus had to run the 100m and hope that his performance would be noticed.

That is what happened eventually. He clocked a season-leading 10.36 seconds for the 100 metres in which his supremacy was never in doubt once he clocked 10.42 and 10.43 seconds in the first two rounds, looking completely at ease, turning around and slackening a little at the finish.

Gajanan Updhyay won the pole vault gold with a record breaking effort of 5.00m.-RAJEEV BHATT

"I have been practising for the 400 metres and thus have had very little time to practise the 100m starts," said the Subedar from MEG, Bangalore. Through the final 50 metres, Anil was in a class of his own. The Kerala man holds the national records in the 100m (10.33s) and 200m (20.73s) and also has an unratified 10.21s for the shorter dash. The latest 10.36 puts Anil in with more than half a dozen sub-10.40 timings, the most for an Indian by a long way. Though Piyush had an invitation to the Asian GP series, Anil's performance could not have been ignored either and he too made it into the team in the end. Obviously he was eyeing the prize money on offer in the GP circuit.

Anil could have been expected to complete the sprint double, but he pulled out of the 200 metres, leaving the field open since Piyush had also withdrawn earlier. In the event, Vishal Saxena won, edging the better-known Sandeep Sarkaria. Satbir Singh's win in the 400m, in 47.55s and Ghamanda Ram's 800-1500 double were routine. After such a `high' as 45.59s by K. M. Binu at the beginning of last season, the quarter-mile timings this season are looking rather pedestrian. Binu has kept away from competition because of a late start to his training programme and that has made the contests lose their sheen. Once again, Bhupinder Singh came in second, in a more pedestrian 47.98s. The men's distance events might have gone unnoticed but for the top four coming under 15 minutes in the 5000 metres and a controversy over lap-scoring spoiling the 10,000 metres. Sunil Kumar of Haryana was the 5000m winner in 14:34.68 while Santosh Patel of Uttar Pradesh won the 10,000 metres.

Patel and several others were forced to run an extra lap by the lap-scorers though Belarus coach Nikoali Snasariev pulled his trainees, Kuldeep Kumar and Aman Saini, out of the race at the end of what he concluded was the completion of the race. It took hours to get the official result released, the lap-scorers insisting that they were right. The final verdict went against their argument. Patel's hand-timing apparently taken at the end of the 25th lap was given official status and Kuldeep and Saini were given electronic timings for their second and third places. The incident showed the poor technical conduct of a National event.

Gajanan Updhyay once again went up to 5.00 metres in pole vault. He had done that in the first National circuit meet and as he went for the National record of 5.11 metres, one could not stop recalling the days of Vijay Pal Singh and his record-breaking efforts. Eighteen years after Vijay Pal cleared 5.10 metres, Indian vaulters are still aiming for that height.

Long jumper Maha Singh was declared the Best Athlete of the Meet.-RAJEEV BHATT

But for an ankle injury that he suffered during the trial jump, V. V. Geesh Kumar, the meet record holder at 4.90m, could have done better than 4.80m. He and Tamil Nadu's R. Ranjit Kumar had tied at 4.80m and the latter got the silver.

The women pole-vaulters have progressed faster under coach P. C. Tyagi who also trains Gajanan. After a long wait, Chetna Solanki has the national record. She cleared 3.80 metres to wrest the record from V. S. Surekha who had cleared 3.70m in the circuit meet in Delhi.

Chetna, who hails from Gandhinagar, has improved her personal record by 30 centimetres over the past six months. Often she had played second fiddle to Surekha who could clear only 3.75m this time. The duels between the two should continue for a few more years, bringing in their wake National records by rote. One should not, however, lose sight of the fact that Asian standards are around 30 to 40 centimetres higher and the world standards more than a metre better.

There was another good long jump effort by Maha Singh that fetched him the `best athlete' award. He touched 7.85 metres this time. National record holder Amritpal Singh did not compete.

Right: Sunita Rani who won 1500m and 5000m events.-RAJEEV BHATT

K. R. Roshan, Benedict Starli and Anilkumar Chahal tied at 2.08 metres in high jump, where National record holder Hari Shankar Roy was absent due to a back injury that should now cause serious concern to the federation. Roy, who scaled 2.25 metres last year to cause a sensation, has not competed in the national circuit this year.

Jora Singh's meet record of 7120 points was a notable effort. That it almost went unnoticed was unfortunate since the compilation of points was stretched beyond media deadlines. His efforts were: 11.40 (100m), 6.54m (long jump), 12.62m (shot put), 1.85m (high jump), 49.77s (400m); 15.88 (110m hurdles), 45.24m (discus), 4.20m (pole vault), 57.55m (javelin) and 4:50.33 (1500m).

Had there been Kulwinder Singh or P. J. Vinod around, it would have been a great decathlon battle, Kulwinder did not enter while Vinod has switched to triple jump this season. Though he could finish only sixth in this meet with 15.11m, coaches are highly optimistic about his potential.

Sathi Geetha garnered glory by bagging the 200-400m double.-RAJEEV BHATT

The throwers continued to disappoint, in either section. Navpreet Singh's 19.29m for the gold in shot put was in keeping with his form, but Ranvijay Singh's 18.00 for the bronze behind veteran Shakti Singh (18.29m) was disappointing. Ranvijay has two efforts of over 19 metres this season, with a best of 19.89m in the first meet this year, the Salwan throws meet.

The women discus throwers also disappointed, with Neelam J. Singh taking the gold with only 56.91m, her poorest for the season, and Seema Antil claiming third with just 49.83m. Both blamed a slippery circle for their performance. Neelam's husband and coach, Jaswant Singh even suggested foul play by someone, saying that the circle seemed to have been deliberately polished. Seema would not subscribe to that view, however.

Seema's inexplicable slump this season after her record-breaking feats in the Olympic year continues to cause concern. The Haryana athlete felt that she was not at her physical best following an appendicitis operation and a leg injury, but she was not certain how quickly she would be able to get back into top form. "I am in shape to do only around 57 metres at this stage," said Seema. She has not been able to cross 55.00 metres so far this season. On the track, in the women's section, Sunita Rani continued to draw media focus as she scored a double, winning the 1500 metres and the 5000 metres. Her 4:20.63 and 16:23.56 were decent efforts, but placed in the current continental perspective, they were nothing much to crow about.

Sathi Geetha was also the centre of attraction as she won the 200-400 double. The opposition was minimal, with none of the regular sprinters challenging her in the 200 metres and Manjeet Kaur sitting out in the 400 metres. Yet, her victory over Chitra Soman in the one-lap event was noteworthy. Chitra, expected to dominate the 400-metre hurdles, pulled out of that event at the last moment.

The competition-shy syndrome is nothing new in Indian athletics and there were a few other withdrawals, too, with javelin thrower Jagdish Bishnoi being the most notable.

The results

Men: 100m: 1. Anil Kumar (Army) 10.36s, 2. Vishal Saxena (UP) 10.48, 3. Piyush Kumar (Del) 10.48; 200m: 1. Vishal Saxena (UP) 21.36s, 2. Sandeep Sarkaria (ONGC) 21.44, 3. A. Arvind (TN) 21.57; 400m: Satbir Singh (Army) 47.55, 2. Bhupinder Singh (ONGC) 47.98, 3. S. Srinivas (AP) 48.29; 800m: 1. Ghamanda Ram (Army) 1:49.36, 2. Suhesh S. J. (Army) 1:50.19, 3. P. S. Primesh (Ker) 1:52.42; 1500m: 1. Ghamanda Ram (Army) 3:52.48, 2. Pritam Bind (ONGC) 3:52.53, 3. Sajeev T. M. (CRPF) 3:52.61; 5000m: 1. Sunil Kumar (Har) 14:34.68, 2. Pritam Bind (ONGC) 14:50.76, 3. Sudhir Singh (Army) 14:57.60; 10,000m: 1. Santosh Patel (UP) 30:50.1, 2. Kuldeep Kumar (UP) 31:24.73, 3. Aman Saini (P. Police) 31:25.23; 3000m steeplechase: 1. Arun D' Souza (AP) 8:54.99, 2. R. B. Subba (BSF) 9:07.49, 3. Bhagwan Giri (UP) 9:19.18; 110m hurdles: 1. K. Krishna Mohan (Army) 14.64s, 2. A. Avinash (TN) 14.73, 3. Prince Mathew (Ker) 14.77; 400m hurdles: 1. Joseph Abraham (CRPF) 51.63s, 2. Ranjodh Singh (P. Police) 52.43, 3. Kuldev Singh (P. Police) 52.66; High jump: 1. K. R. Roshan (Ker) 2.08m, 2. Benedict Starli (TN) 2.08, 3. Anilkumar Chahal (UP) 2.08; Pole vault: 1. Gajanan Upadhyay (UP) 5.00 (NMR, previous 4.90m), 2. R. Ranjith Kumar (TN) 4.80, 3. V. V. Geesh Kumar (Ker) 4.80; Long jump: 1. Maha Singh (Pun) 7.85m, 2. Shiv Singh Yadav (UP) 7.56, 3. Shamsher Singh (UP) 7.50; Triple jump: 1. M. Renjith (Ker) 15.92m, 2. Bhupinder Singh (P. Police) 15.58, 3. K. C. Saintson (Army) 15.40. Shot put: 1. Navpreet Singh (P. Police) 19.29m, 2. Shakti Singh (Rly) 18.29, 3. Ranvijay Singh (UP) 18.00; Discus: 1. Simranjeet Singh (Del) 54.28m, 2. Sukhbir Singh (P. Police) 52.89, 3. Amrit Pal Singh (Pun) 51.25; Hammer: 1. Kulwinder Singh (P. Police) 65.05m, 2. Madhu Kumar (Har) 64.47, 3. Harpal Singh (P. Police) 64.43; Javelin: 1.Fazal Ansari (Rly) 75.12m, 2. Sunil Goswami (Del) 74.27, 3. Omnarayan (Har) 73.47; Decathlon: 1. Jora Singh (BSF) 7120 pts (NMR, previous 7034), 2. Dhananjay Singh (UP) 6578, 3.Chandrasekhar (TN) 6311; 4x100m relay: 1. Karnataka 41.02s, 2. Tamil Nadu 41.16, 3. Punjab Police 42..07. 4x400m relay: 1. Army 3:12.63, 2. CRPF 3:13.12, 3. Punjab Police 3:14.28. 20km walk: 1. P. S. Jalan (Army) 1:30:17.3 (NMR, previous 1:31:39), 2. Gurdev Singh (Army) 1:30:58.5, 3. Gurmit Singh (P. Police) 1:31.27.3.

Team championship: 1. Army (99), 2. UP (71.50), 3. Punjab Police (61).

Women: 100m: 1. Poonam Tomar (Del) 11.70s, 2. Deepti Jose (Ker) 11.89, 3. K. M. Greeshma (Ker) 12.10; 200m: 1. S. Geetha (AP) 23.88s, 2. Rajwinder Kaur (P. Police) 23.99, 3. Sarda Narayan (TN) 24.91; 400m: 1. S. Geetha (AP) 52.71s, 2. Chitra K. Soman (Jharkhand) 53.21, 3. Rajwinder Kaur (P. Police) 54.79; 800m: 1. S. Shanthi (TN) 2:09.17, 2. Sunita Kanojia (Del) 2:09.84, 3. Saraswati Chand (Ori) 2:10.47; 1500m: 1. Sunita Rani (P. Police) 4:20.63, 2. Sinimol Poulose (Jharkhand) 4:27.26, 3. Jaisha O. P. (Ker) 4:28.29; 5000m: 1. Sunita Rani (P. Police) 16:23.56, 2. Preeja Sreedharan (Ker) 17:22.48, 3. Jaisha O. P. (Ker) 17:22.73; 10,000m: 1. Pampa Chanda (Ben) 36:32.26, 2. Beant Kaur (P. Police) 36:51.86, 3. Preethi Rao (Kar) 37:34.73; 3000m steeplechase: 1. B. L. Bharathi (Kar) 10:54.31, 2. Vinita Thakur (P. Police) 11:15.23, 3. A. Pappathi (TN) 12:03.21; 100m hurdles: 1. K. N. Priya (TN) 13.97s, 2. Anuradha Biswal (Ori) 14.11, 3. Soma Biswas (Ben) 14.23; 400m hurdles: 1. S. Roselin Arokiamary (TN) 1:00.99, 2. Jayalakshmi (Kar) 1:01.52, 3. Baljit Kaur (Del) 1:02.57; High jump: 1. Sangeetha Mohan (TN) 1.70, 2. Mallika Mondal (Ben) 1.65, 3. Mala Karpura (TN)1.60; Pole vault: 1. Chetna Solanki (UP) 3.80m (NR, previous 3.70), 2. V. S. Surekha (TN) 3.75, 3. Gitanjali Bora (Assam) 3.50; Long jump: 1. K. Revathi (TN) 5.94m, 2. Kalpana Das (Ben) 5.94, 3. Anisha Vijayan (CRPF) 5.74; Triple jump: 1. Anisha Vijayan (CRPF) 13.04m, 2. K. Revathi (TN) 12.71, 3. Manisha Dey (Ben) 12.62; Shot put: 1. Saroj Sihag (CRPF) 13.68m, 2. Archana Mondal (Ben) 12.38, 3. Manmeet Bains (UP) 12.06; Discus: 1. Neelam J. Singh (Har) 56.91m, 2. Harwant Kaur (P. Police) 53.40; 3. Krishna Poonia (Har) 50.32; Hammer: 1. Ritu Rani (Del) 54.97m, 2. Rajwinder Kaur (P. Police) 52.79, 3. Ushma Singh (UP) 52.72; Javelin: 1. Suman Devi (UP) 50.25m, 2. Megha Pardeshi (Mah) 47.36, 3. N. P. Annamma (CRPF) 44.39. Heptathlon: 1. Soma Biswas (Ben) 5333 pts, 2. Manju Paulose (Ker) 4767, 3. Rosemary Antony (Ker) 4112; 4x100m relay: 1. Kerala 47.19s, 2. Bengal 47.72, 3. Tamil Nadu 48.16; 4x400m relay: 1. Tamil Nadu 3:49.86, 2. Bengal 3:52.84, 3. Andhra Pradesh 3:57.61; 20km walk: 1. Y. Bala Devi (Ben) 1:48:37.0, 2. L. Deepmala Devi (Manipur) 1:51:12.0, 3. Amandeep Kaur (P. Police).

Team championship: 1. Bengal (83), 2. Tamil Nadu (82), 3. Punjab Police (61).