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Open National Athletics Championships

Kolkata – 13 September 2011

 Siddhanth stamped his class with a National Record in the grand finale

 Explode from the blocks like a super nova, 20-year-old Siddhanth Thingalaya proved his training stint in Australia and Europe was indeed a great support and capitalised his first competition on home-soil a memorable one in Yuba Bharati Krirangan on the concluding day of Open Nationals.   His first exposure came in Potchefstroom, South Africa, last year under the sponsorship of Mittal Champions Trust and provided a stunner when clocked his first national mark in a remarkable 13.81 secs in 110m Hurdles while pinned down his much experienced seniors to win the Inter-State title at Patiala in 2010. 

 A dedicated Siddhanth used to travel every weekend to Pune’s Balewadi all the way from his home in Mumbai’s Andheri area to train under Ajit Kulkarni, which transformed him to become a national level hurdler from his earlier love of football.  Running under the ONGC banner, Siddhanth dipped under 14 secs for the second time in his career and posted a new national best 13.77s to shave off four-hundredths of a second from his previous best.  Time and again his margin of victory (0.71s) was the biggest ever in the nationals

 On Tuesday’s final, Railway hurdler Thyagarajan Balamurugan was second in 14.48 secs and A. Suresh of Jharkhand finished third in 14.70s.         

 M.M. Anchu (Railways) had become another athlete to clinch the third major title at national level championships this year by adding her gold today in women’s 100m hurdles to her earlier victories in the Inter-State meet and National Games.  She matched her winning time from Bangalore inter-state meet when finished first in 13.90s.  Tamil Nadu athlete J. Hemashree and railway teammate Shreema Priyadarshini were an ocean behind at 14.96 secs. 

 Asha Roy, a daughter of vegetable vendor in Singur, once again on the limelight as the local girl cashed-in the home support by taking a sprint double through her victory in 200m this evening that annexed to her gold in 100m which she won earlier.  Bengal girl Asha clocked a moderate 24.36s for her win but outclassed an experienced Srabani Nanda from neighbouring Orissa (24.52) and Ch. Shanthi (24.87), who represented ONGC here. 

 Men’s 200m title returned to services team after seven years through M.G. Joseph (21.28s).

 Metric miler Pritam Bind, who won the 1500m in the nationals six years ago at Hyderabad, held off the challenge from services runner Rahul Pal and his ONGC teammate Suresh Kumar, the 10000m winner on the opening day.   In a mesmerising last minute sprint Pritam went home with the gold in 14:23.18, Rahul just five-hundredths of a second behind for the silver while Suresh made it to podium again with a bronze medal in 14:24.50. 

 Sajeesh Joseph takes his third title in men’s 800m at the nationals while his railway teammate S.R. Bindu got her maiden gold on the distaff side. 

 The Railway men’s 4x100m relay quartet extends their winning streak for the eighth time.  However they lost the honour in longer relay to Services, it got back the event seven years after their last triumph in 2004.  Services camp also delighted with the win of long jumper Ritish Kumar, who got the top spot after sharing the same distance (7.70m) with two other athletes—Samsher Pratap Singh (ONGC) and Sudhir (Haryana).  The previous win by an athlete under military rank came through R. Sanjeevan in way back 1997 at Gandhinagar.

 Indian Railways maintained its uninterrupted run in the championships by taking the top spot in medal tally with 17 gold, 13 silver and 8 bronze medals.  The Services team relegated to third position (5-7-8) as newcomers ONGC (8-5-4) become runners-up in the four day meet which concluded at two venues—Salt Lake Stadium and nearby SAI Sports Complex—today.

 / Ram. Murali Krishnan /

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