Dharun breaks national record to earn CWG spot

Dharun Ayyasamy created a new national record and qualified for the Commonwealth Games, clocking 49.45 seconds in the men's 400m hurdles at Federation Cup.

Dharun Ayyasamy clocked 49.45 seconds in the men's 400m hurdles at Federation Cup.   -  Special Arrangement

For a year and half, Dharun Ayyasamy was off track, having suffered a serious stress fracture and recovering from it. Till a week back, he was down with typhoid, bedridden and unable to train. On Thursday, the Mangalore University student set a new meet record, a new national record and qualified for the Commonwealth Games, clocking 49.45 seconds in the men's 400m hurdles here during the 22nd Federation Cup at the National Institute of Sports.

The 21-year-old, gasping for breath but the smile intact, had still not come to terms with the above achievements several minutes after the race. “I would only credit my training partners for all my achievement. They encouraged me, kept my spirits up for the last one week, helped me in recovery and told me I could do it when I did not believe it myself. This is something special for me,” he told Sportstar.

Dharun had been consistently clocking 49 seconds during training before being stuck with typhoid. His timing on Thursday was the exact qualifying mark set by the AFI for selection. In the process, he bettered the 11-year-old record of 49.52 by Joseph Abraham.

Still not at his best, he admitted his body was yet to recover fully. “If you ask me how I did it, I will be honest in saying I don't know. What I do know is that I will only get better from here and, hopefully, give strong competition to the rest at CWG, not go just to make up the numbers,” he insisted.

Also achieving the qualifying mark was former national record holder and 2014 Glasgow bronze medallist Arpinder Singh with a jump of 16.61m, one centimetre more than the required distance. He admitted he cut it too close but was hopeful of improving in the next one month ahead of the CWG. Arpinder was the only other athlete apart from Dharun to achieve the qualifying mark on the final day of the competition.

Renjith injured

His closest competitor and national and meet record holder Renjith Maheswary, going strong till his third jump, slipped on his fourth jump, suffered a patella dislocation on his left knee and a fracture on his right ring finger. Rushed to the hospital, the medical reports are awaited but he is likely to be out of action for at least next 6-8 months. His 16.51, however, was still good enough for a silver.

Coming agonisingly close to the qualification but falling short, yet again by microseconds, was Jinson Jhonson in the 1500m with a timing of 3:39.69 against the required 3:39.50. It was, however, good enough for a new meet record. Jhonson had earlier missed the mark by 320 milliseconds in the 800m. The biggest disappointment was 110m hurdler Siddhant Thingalaya, who could only manage 13.76 seconds, slower than his own meet record, national record and the AFI mark but enough for gold.

“It takes at least 2-3 weeks for the body to get used to the difference in indoor and outdoor competition. I have just come a week before from the World Indoor Championships and this is my first outdoor event of the season. I will go back to the US now and participate in more events, the first likely by the end of this month, and keep the federation posted about my results. Let's see what they decide but now my focus will be on the Asian Games,” Thingalaya said.

The results:

Men: 200m: 1. Siva Kumar (21.14s), 2. Sanjeet (21.53s), 3. Manikanda Arumugan (21.61s); 1500m: 1. Jinson Jhonson (3:39.69), 2. Manjit Singh (3:42.24), 3. Bir Singh (3:42.28); 110m hurdles: 1. Siddhant Thingalaya (13.76s), 2. Maymon Poulose Maymon (14.08s), 3. Shiva Kumar C (14.33s); 400m hurdles: 1. Dharun Ayyasamy (49.45s), 2. Santhosh Kumar T (50.14s), 3. M. Ramachandran (51.61s); triple jump: 1. Arpinder Singh (16.61m), 2. Renjith Maheswary (16.51m), 3. D. Arivuselvam (16.49m); hammer throw: 1. Ashish Jakhar (67.64m), 2. Sukhdev Singh (66.19m), 3. Amandeep Singh (58.97m); 3000m steeplechase: 1. Naveen Kumar Dagar (8:42.19), 2. Avinash Sable (8:43.84), 3. Durga Bahadur Budha (8:43.85).

Women: 200m: 1. Hima Das (23.37s), 2. Sneha PJ (24.47s), 3. Jauna Murmu (24.64s); 1500m: 1. Chitra PU (4:15.25), 2. Shipra Sarkar (4:18.55), 3. Harmilan Bains (4:21.19); 100m hurdles: 1. Sapna Kumari (13.61s), 2. Prajna S. Prakash (14.13s), 3. Anurupa Kumari (14.27s); 400m hurdles: 1. Arpitha M (57.43s), 2. Anu Raghavan (58.05s), 3. Veerpal Kaur (1:01.72); shot put: 1. Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (16.45m), 2. Rakhi (14.74m), 3. Uma PS (14.66m); heptathlon: 1. Purnima Hembram (5815 pts), 2. Liksy Joseph (5299 pts), 3. M. Sowmiya (5173 pts); 3000m steeplechase: 1. Sudha Singh (9:50.78), 2. Chinta Yadav (10:09.41), 3. Chhavi Yadav (10:48.31).