Four meet marks fall by the wayside

Ravinder of Haryana with the gold medal he won in the boys under-16 javelin.-C. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

The Shriram Properties National Inter-District junior athletics meet, held for the first time in South India (in Visakhapatnam), created history of sorts for the number of athletes who took part in the annual event. Nearly 3,700 athletes from about 360 districts displayed their skills at the three-day meet.

The event, hit by a sudden downpour on day two, saw four meet records being set. Ravinder from Jhajjar District in Haryana set the meet record in boys’ under-16 javelin, hitting 63.65m. The earlier mark (61.62m, set in 2012 in Haridwar) stood in the name of Neeraj Chopra, also from Haryana.

In the boys’ under-16 long jump final, Lokesh of Bangalore cleared 6.93m for the meet record.

Pradeep of Barabanki (Uttar Pradesh) accounted for the third meet record, winning the 600m heats in 1:25.56s in the boys’ under-14 section. However, he failed to reproduce similar form in the final and finished third in 1:26.68s. Anu Kumar from Dehradun emerged winner in the event, clocking 1:25.97s. Sachin Jangra of Hissar (Haryana) finished second in 1:26.28s.

Poorna Rao Rane (Mumbai) set the meet record in the qualifying round of the girls’ under-16 shot put by hurling the iron ball to a distance of 12.26m. However, in the final, she registered only 11.94m, which was good enough for a silver medal. V. Ambika (Mysore) won the gold in the event with an effort of 11.98m.

West Bengal athletes, Rajasree Prasad (girls’ under-16, 100m, gold, 12.75s), Prakriti Bepari (girls’ under-16, 200m, gold, 27.10s), Sumita Bhowmick (girls’ under-16, 400m, gold, 1:00.90s), Rabina Khatun (girls’ under-14, long jump, gold, 4.80m), Papai Das (boys’ under-14, high jump, gold, 1.77m), Debanjana Dey (girls’ under-14, shot put, silver, 9.94m), Madhu Shripal (girls’ under-14, shot put, bronze, 9.35m) and Mamoni Das (girls’ under-16, discus, bronze, 25.38m), impressed with their performances.

Athletes from Kerala such as Helan Saji (girls’ under-16, high jump, gold, 1.52m), Abigail Arokianathan (girls’ under-16, 100m hurdles, gold, 16.10s), K. S. Anandhu (boys’ under-16, high jump, gold, 1.89m) and M. V. Aadinath (boys’ under-14, long jump, bronze, 5.97m) too stood out for their efforts.

The AFI (Athletics Federation of India), for the first time, introduced cash incentives for the medal winners — Rs. 5,000 for gold, Rs. 3,000 for silver and Rs. 2000 for bronze. “We gave away Rs. 3 lakh in total as a token of appreciation and encouragement,” said Manish, the Chief Operating Officer of the AFI.

J. R. Shridharan