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Mayookha ascertained her supremacy with a big leap in long jump

Kolkata, 10 September 2011

 Second only to Anju Bobby George’s nine year old meet mark of 6.74m, Asian champion Mayookha Johny proved her mettle by taking the long jump gold in a commendable 6.54m. Although her effort was once again fell short of the Olympic Games qualification norm (6.65m), the ONGC athlete lived up to everyone’s expectations even after a hectic schedule which includes an incredible World championship outing at Daegu, Korea, hardly ten days ago.   Her compatriot M.A. Prajusha settled with a silver (6.45) while the bronze medal went to Bihar’s Tanzila Khatoon (6.09).

 Earlier in the morning Asian junior champion Suresh Kumar graduated as a senior by taking his first major title and gave his employers ONGC the first gold of the meet in 10,000m clocking 30:18.16.  He avenged his defeat to Army lad Kheta Ram in the Inter-State meet held at Bangalore this June.  The services runner was 6.2 secs behind for the second place.  Railwayman Soji Mathew went home with a bronze in 30:43.39.

 As expected the women’s race a keen contest between arch-rivals Preeja Sreedharan and Kavita Raut.   Asian Games gold medallist Preeja outshined Kavita by just four-hundredth-of-a-second to take her fourth title in the 25-lapper at nationals.  Preeja’s winning time was a modest 35:56.09 while Kavita registered 35:56.13.  Suriya Loganathan of Railways was a close third in 36:09.00. 

 Services discus thrower Vipender Singh regained his title after a gap of four years!  Earlier he had won the title in 2006 at Delhi with a mark of 52.84m.  It was only the fifth time ever a services athlete wins this event in the meet's history.  His winning mark today (50.52m) was lowest in 20 years.  Teammate Dharmendra threw 21 cm lesser for the silver, railway’s Sunil Kumar was third in 49.27m.

 Railway women Manju Bala and Saraswathy took the hammer and javelin throw titles respectively.  Saraswathy took her fourth straight title by setting out the spear to 49.05m, a feat achieved only by another Railway star Razia Sheikh during 1983-86.   Mukesh Kumari of Railways (46.29m) and Uttar Pradesh girl Anu Rani (46.05) completes the podium.

 Manju Bala took her maiden title in hammer throw in this championship with a mark of 56.71m.  Her teammate Anitha Abraham (53.26) and Gujarat’s Sarita (53.20) took the silver and bronze medals in that order.

 / Ram. Murali Krishnan /

Kolkata, 9 September 2011

 The 51st edition of Open National Athletics Championships will be held simultaneously at two venues in Kolkata—Salt Lake Stadium and SAI Sports Complex—in the next four days (10-13 September).   Apart from state units, the athletes from Railways, Services, Police and ONGC are expected to deliver good performances in the above meet as it will be an opportunity for the aspirants to attain qualifying norms for the London Olympics next year.

 Shot putter Om Prakash Singh, who recently improved his personal best to 20.07m while taking the gold in Szombathely, Hungary, along with Asian long jump champion Mayookha Johny, who already qualified for Olympic Games in triple jump will be the main attraction in the Open Nationals.

 Steeplechaser Sudha Singh, distance runners Kavita Raut and Preeja Sreedharan among women and half-miler Ghamanda Ram among men are the top contenders in their respective events.

 Defending champion Railways fields a strong 109-member contingent which is largest among the 22 teams taking part with around 900 athletes in the national athletics meet.     

 / AFI /

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