Rakesh takes the spotlight

Avinash Nair

Rakesh Kumar came up with a National record in hammer throw. — Pic. G. P. SAMPATH KUMAR-

IT was a low key performance in the National Circuit meet in Bangalore. Owing to intermittent rain, the organisers, the Bangalore Rural District Amateur Athletic Association, had to conduct a few events under the floodlights. In fact, the show went on in semi-darkness. The spectators, a few of them, too left the arena disappointed. But one man was quite focussed in his event.

The 23-year-old Rakesh Kumar, a sub-Inspector from Uttar Pradesh Police, joined his illustrious predecessors — Ishtiaq Ahmed, Liaq Ahmed and Pramod Tiwari — by excelling in the hammer throw event. He too is coached by Rustam Khan.

Rakesh, a bronze medallist in the junior Asian championship at Brunei in 2001, set a National record with a throw of 70.16 metres. Earlier at Nagercoil, during the first Circuit meet this season, Rakesh touched 66.89 metres for the top prize.

It was not a great start for Rakesh, but his very first throw was good enough for the winner's cheque. Despite a couple of `fouls,' he threw 68 m plus in his fourth attempt. He fouled his fifth, but was not unduly worried. The sixth and final throw, under fading lights with a handful of throwers and friends around, Rakesh got his rhythm right and rest is history. There was celebration all around. Pramod Tiwari and Nirbhay Singh hugged the young champion with all admiration. Neelam J. Singh, the Asian Games gold medallist in the discuss throw, complimented the feat and said: "He is the most exciting prospect around... age is on his side, we can look forward to more such records from this lad.'' Gurvinderjeeet Singh and Pramod Tiwari finished second and third behind Rakesh.

Prior to Rakesh's feat, the focus was in the 100m sprint for men and the high jump where Bobby Aloysius figured. Bobby did disappoint in a way, managing only a 1.80 metres while winning the event. "The change in the weather from one country to another (she was training in England) and in Bangalore itself it was wet and sultry... all this affected me.... also there was lack of serious competition,'' said Bobby in defence of her poor performance.

Sahana Kumari, the lone challenger to Bobby, finished with a poor 1.73 metres. "My left knee is still paining and though I have been working out, my serious training started only three days ago,'' said Sahana.

P. Anil Kumar returned to the the national scene after a few impressive runs in the Services championship at Hyderabad. Drawn in the second lane, Anil powered his way to what looked a new record. But at the 80m mark he felt a `twitch' in his hamstring. Neverthless, the MEG sprinter breasted the tape in 10.40s. "I was looking at something under 10.3 seconds, but this setback pulled things a bit,'' said Anil. Anil achieved the national record of 10.33 at the same venue, two years ago.

Anil's run put to shade the Nagercoil winner Sandeep Sarkaria, who ended up a disappointing fifth, but still way ahead of his Nageercoil performance.

Sanjay Ghosh, Anil's Services teamate, in lane seven, did close in when Anil suffered the `pull' but could not beat the champion. Local collegian Mohammed Mudassir ran superbly in the `C' race to finish third overall in a career best time of 10.57 seconds. Mudassir, just 19, has been promising since he took up athletics two years ago. He needs close monitoring.

Neelam J. Singh went about her task of annexing the top prize with ease. She recorded 58.95 m in the women's discuss. She acknowledge the fact that both Harwant Kaur and Seema Antil have it in them to take over in the future. "I shall continue for another five or six years, till I feel comfortable,'' said Neelam.

Anil Kumar celebrates, after winning the 100m event. — Pic. G. P. SAMPATH KUMAR-

J. J. Shobha of Andhra Pradesh did prove herself in the 200 m, pushing behind Rakhi Saha (WB) and S. Geeta of AP. In the long jump, the well built Andhra athlete had to give way to the better equipped Ruta Patkar, another promising athlete.

The organisers gave away cash prizes of Rs.10,000, Rs. 5000 and Rs. 3000 to the top three finishers, while also honouring the 10 kms. walkers with cash prizes, although it was a trial event. Rakesh Kumar was preseented with a `bonus' of Rs. 10,000 for his record-breaking feat.

The results: Men:

100m: 1. Anil Kumar (SSCB) 10.40s, 2. Sanjay Ghosh (SSCB) 10.50s, 3. Mohd. Mudassir (Kar) 10.57s.

400m: 1. Anil Kumar Rohil (SSCB) 47.20s, 2. Satbir Singh (SSCB) 47.46s, 3. P. S. Primesh (Ker) 47.53s.

3000m: 1. Kuldeep Kumar (Police) 8:25.88s, 2. I. Shivananda (S. Rly) 8:27.28s, 3. Sunil Kumar (Har) 8:30.68s.

110m Hurdles: 1. Manjunath B. Godi (Kar) 14.69s, 2. Prasad Reddy (SSCB) 14.77s, 3. Sandeep Parmar (Mah) 14.95s.

High jump: 1. Omveer Singh (RSPB) 2.05m, 2. M. Lawrence (SSCB) 2.05m, 3. K. R. Roshan (LIC) 2.05m.

Triple jump: 1. Amarjeet Singh (Pun) 15.39m, 2. P. J. Vinod (Ker) 14.85m, 3. Sukhjinder Singh (Pun) 14.71m.

Shot put: 1. Jaiveer Singh (SSCB) 18.77m, 2. Kuldeep Mann (Del) 18.26m, 3. Malkhan Singh (Pun) 17.60m.

Discus throw: 1. Gursewak Singh (Pun) 51.57m, 2. Amardeep Singh (Pun) 51.48m, 3. Amrit Pal Singh (Pun) 51.48m.

Hammer throw: 1. Rakesh Kumar (UP) 70.16m (National Record; old: Ishtiaq Ahmed 70.13m in 2000, Bangalore), 2. Gurvinderjeet Singh (Pun) 66.85m, 3. Pramod Kumar Tiwari (UP) 66.40m.

Javelin throw: 1. Ramandeep Singh (Pun) 72.10m, 2. Lijesh Kumar (SSCB) 72.04m, 3. Avtar SIngh (Pun) 68.65m.

10 kms walk: 1. Gurmit Singh (Pun) 45:22.68s, 2. Vipin Kumar (UP) 47:15.49s, 3. Ratan Singh (SSCB) 48:37.92s.

Women:

200m: 1. J. J. Shobha (AP) 24.17s, 2. Rakhi Saha (WB) 24.31s, 3. S. Geetha (AP) 24.61s.

400m: 1. Manjeet Kaur (Pun) 54.09s, 2. Kalpana Reddy (AP) 54.75s, 3. Sagardeep Kaur (Pun) 54.97s.

1500m: 1. Madhuri A. Singh (AIESB) 4:31.36s, 2. Hemalatha (Kar) 4:32.01s, 3. C. Latha (TN) 4:41.49s.

High jump: 1. Bobby Aloysius (TN) 1.80m, 2. Sahana Kumari (Kar) 1.73m.

Long jump: 1. Ruta Patkar (Mah) 6.16m, 2. J. J. Shobha (AP) 6.12m, 3. P. Bindu (WB) 5.76m.

Discus throw: 1. Neelam J. Singh (Pun) 58.95m, 2. Harwant Kaur (Pun) 56.63m, 3. Seema Antil (Har) 53.13m.

Hammer throw: 1. Ritu Rani (Del) 57.17m, 2. Rajwinder Kaur (Pun) 53.33m, 3. S. Samthi (TN) 43.52m.

10 kms walk: 1. Y. Bala Devi (RSPB) 52:01.98s, 2. Raveena Antil (Har) 53:37.50s, 3. Jasmine Kaur (Pun) 54:09.62s.