Khelo India Youth Games: Maharashtra has a field day in relays

Maharashtra girls won gold in U-17 (48.31 seconds) and U-21 (47.22) relays, pushing Kerala and Tamil Nadu to the silver and bronze respectively.

Sudeshna Shivanka (extreme left) of Maharashtra during the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune on Friday.   -  Jignesh Mistry

Relay teams had a field day in the Khelo India Youth Games on Friday. Four relays races were run — Under-17 and Under-21 girls’ and boys’ 4x100 — where the sprinters got a chance to dash around the track for the State teams, before the focus turns to individual events.

Maharashtra girls showed pace and cohesion in ample measure to win the gold in U-17 (48.31s) and U-21 (47.22) relays. Kerala and Tamil Nadu bagged the silver and bronze respectively.

The Kerala quartet grabbed the gold in boys’ U-17 (43.21) and U-21 (41.77) relays, pushing the host to third place, as TN sneaked into the second place.

Indicator

Subhash Pawar, Maharashtra team manager, views the relay results as an indicator of the likely trend in the upcoming 100 and 200m. “Relay is a team event in athletics, otherwise a sport where the individual decides his or her fate. Runners chosen for the relay for Maharashtra understood their responsibility and put the training lessons to use. The home crowd in the stands got involved, the runners get a boost when the cheer went around the track. We worked for six days to polish the baton exchange skill and decide the running order.”

Rashmi Sheregar ran the anchor leg for Maharashtra U-21, Avantika Narale hit the tape first for the State in U-17. “Each of the four runners need to do their part for the team to succeed. Credit goes to the athletes and their individual coaches,” said the Kohlapur-based athletics coach attached to the State athletics set-up.

Asked about the reason for finishing ahead of Kerala and TN, he pointed out: “Winning relays is not any State’s right, Maharashtra sprinters are in form and will be serious contenders in the 100 and 200m. The boys got a bronze in the U-17, U-21 relays but will push the best sprinters.”

He observed that for age-group talent from any State, the transition from junior to senior will take time. “For young sprinters from anywhere in India, systematic preparation and power in their physiques are essentials.”

The results

Girls U-17: 1. Maharashtra (Sudeshna Shivankar, Harita Bhadra, Aditi Paras, Avantika Narale) 48.31s, 2. Kerala 48.61, 3. Tamil Nadu 51.36.

U-21: 1. Maharashtra (Rosalyn Lewis, Siddhi Hirey, Kriti Bhoite, Rashmi Sheregar) 47..22, 2. Kerala 47.29, 3. TN 47.87.

Boys U-17: .1. Kerala (Suryajit R K, Mohammed Lazen, Joseph T J, Abdul Razak C R),43.21, 2. TN 44.37, 3. Maharashtra 44.80.

U-21: 1. Kerala (Abhinav C, Bijith K, Akhil T V, Sarish P S).  41.77, 2. TN  42.01, 3. Maharashtra 42.79.