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27th National Junior Athletics Championships

Haryana halted Kerala’s unbeaten run to crown overall champions

 Ranchi, Jharkhand – 4 November 2011

 Congratulation guys, you did better this time” was Kerala’s reaction when Haryana state emerged as overall champions in the 27th National Junior Athletics Championship which concluded here at Birsa Munda Stadium this evening. 

Kerala, the sportive southern state, was unbeaten since 1998 when Kochi hosted the junior nationals for the first time and had won the overall champion title for a record fourteen times in a row.   Newly crowned Haryana led the medal tally with 27 gold, 16 silver and 15 bronze medals followed by Kerala (23-23-20) and Tamil Nadu (15-12-21).  Haryana’s success mainly came through their boys who grabbed 18 gold medals while Kerala girls contributed 19 golds to their state.

As in the past three days, Friday’s action also started with a record note when UP boy Inderjeet Patel secured a distance double while posting a new meet mark of 14:25.61 to win the junior men 5000m.  His teammate Manoj Yadav improved another record when hurled the javelin to 70.61m. 

In the youth boys’ 3000m run Harish Koranga of Uttarakhand came very close to Inderjeet Patel’s meet mark when timed 8:28.96 for the gold.  Haryana lad Surender Singh tossed the 5 kg iron ball to a new distance of 18.67m in the morning’s shot put finals to send an early warning to everyone that his state is going to claim the trophy later today. 

Paschim Banga’s Asesh Chandra Roy improved 1 cm to Kerala jumper Jithin C. Thomas’s meet mark of 1.98m in boys u-16 high jump event, for another double to add his long jump victory from the opening day. 

Asian Youth Games champion Namita Kabat cheered the home-crowed with her win over 800m in the junior women category.  Maharashtrian Monika M. Athar won her second gold through a noteworthy 10:00.41 clocking in 3000m.  She took the 5K title during the first day of the meet. 

Kerala’s national cross-country champion M.D. Thara became victor in youth girls 3000m.   Delhi boy Ashwani Sharma delivered a sprint double when he crossed first the finishline in 200m this afternoon.  Earlier he pocketed the 100m gold in junior men.  The same was the case with Tamil Nadu sprinter B. Karthikeyan in u-16 group.  Among the girls, R. Varsha ofKarnataka was the last athlete to claim the second gold of the meet through her 200-400m combination.   

/ Ram. Murali Krishnan /

Spearman Rajesh sets new mark as youth athletes continue to prevail

 Ranchi, Jharkhand – 3 November 2011

 Maharashtra’s Rajesh Kumar, who finished second in the recent inter-zonal championships at Bhopal, upgraded to gold status in late evening on Wednesday when he hurled the spear to a new distance of 72.25m in youth boys’ javelin throw which erased UP boy Manoj Yadav’s meet and national mark of 71.96m set last year from the record books.

 Just few minutes before the above mentioned phenomenal performance, another youth boy V. Praveen Muthukumaran garnered his second gold of the day through a 7.27m leap in long jump.  The athlete from Tamil Nadu had earlier won the 100m with a record 10.75 secs clocking on the second day’s competition in the ongoing 27th National Junior championships here.   Praveen was a silver medallist in long jump in last year’s edition of Junior nationals at Bangalore.

 The Thursday morning programme has started with yet another record show in the youth division when Haryana walker Kuldeep recorded an excellent 42:58.1 over the 10 km course to extend his state’s supremacy in this event.  Kuldeep had been the eighth athlete from Haryana to win the u-18 title in race walking. 

 Duregesh posts national junior mark

 Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Durgesh Kumar Pal had no match in his favourite 400m hurdles.  Moving in to junior men category for the first time Durgesh running over the barriers in perfect style to register a new national junior best of 50.86 secs.   Fresh from his victory in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Douglas this September, the Maharashtraboy revealed his ambition to make another podium finish next year at global stage in the World Junior Championships.  

 Among the budding athletes who made their first step in the nationals, Anilkumar Sahoo of Maharashtra caught everyone’s attention as he raised the bar in u-14 boys’ high jump to 1.85m, a national best in that age-group.  Bengal boy Tapas Roy also bettered the meet mark with a clearance of 1.80m for the silver.    TN jumper Arthi and Melva George fromKerala were tied for the top spot in the girls division. 

 Second successive title for Mahalakshmi

In girls under-16 discus throw M. Mahalakshmi had won the gold with her last round throw which measured to 35.65m from compatriot K. Subhashini, who had an early lead with 34.81m.   Incidentally Mahalakshmi was second in the last edition of the nationals behind commonwealth youth games bronze medallist Navjeet Kaur Dhillon.   Trained under former LIC thrower RM. Narayanan, the TN girl took her first-ever title at the national level competition through her victory in Bhopal inter-zonal championships this year.

Kerala athletes regained the junior women triple jump event after two years.  Shilpa Chacko and P.S. Savitha were 1-2 with their jumps over 12.78 and 12.41m respectively.  The 4x100m relay quartet of Arathy, Adheena, Savitha and Mareena retained the gold for their state clocking a modest 48.53s.  Kerala was unbeaten in this event since 2002 and today’s win marked their winning streak to eleven!

 In the medley relay for youth girls, Tamil Nadu team posted a new national mark in 2:13.87 while S.N. Mohammed Salahuddin took the u-18 triple jump honours as expected with a last round 15.09m.

 / Ram. Murali Krishnan /

Praveen led youth domination on second day

 Ranchi, Jharkhand – 2 November 2011

 Tamil Nadu sprinter V. Praveen Muthukumaran and Bihar’s international Sunanda Sarkar lived-up to expectations to win the marquee event of the day—100m—in youth boys and girls divisions respectively.  Praveen, who clocked an outstanding 10.59 secs to win the south zone meet at Hyderabad in mid August, ran like a spitfire to win the under-18 title in the national inter-zonal championship at Bhopal thereafter in a superb 10.75s.  Surprisingly he returned the same time (10.75s) again this evening for a new record in 27th National junior championships here to add another feather in his cap.  Kerala’s Jijin Vijayan also clocked a credible 10.80s for the silver while another TN athlete Augustine Yesudas finished third in 11s.   Tamil Nadu’s success story in this event began at Kottayam in 1967 when the u-18 division was first introduced.  Madras state’s Swaminathan become the first champion in 11.2 secs.  Several others followed the glory after him.   

 Sunanda, represented the nation in this year’s World Youth Championships at Lille (France), missed the 10-year-old meet mark of 12.10s held by Chitra K. Soman since 2001.  The Bihari girl however posted a personal best 12.14s for today’s victory.  Bengal’s Ruma Sarkar was a distant second in 12.31s.   Orissa girl Dutee Chand successfully defends her title in u-16 division with a modest 12.19s clocking.   

 As like yesterday, the second day’s proceedings begun with a meet record when Haryana lad  Ashish Rohilla walked 10 km in 43:40.7 for the junior men’s title.  The honour went to Pooja Jat of Maharashtra in junior women (54:27.4). 

 Kerala hurdler Pinto Mathew halted neighbouring Tamil Nadu’s monarchy in junior men’s 110m hurdles.  Pinto’s winning time of 14.12s was 0.20 faster than his TN rival J. Thiyagarajan.  In the youth girls 100m hurdles, favourite Meghana Shetty of Karnataka missed the crown by a whisker when Punjab’s Sumandeep Kaur pip her on the post 14.65 to 14.66s.

 Sinju Prakash (Kerala) defends u-18 pole vault after scaling a new height of 3.30m.    

 Time and again youth athletes delivered better performances at the Junior nationals in recent times.  The same was the case here as the marks delivered by youth athletes were amazingly in high order than their senior teammates. 

 On the field, Maria Jaison of Kerala took the girls u-14 long jump title in 5.18m which is however a no mean effort when compared to the national record 5.82m set by TN star Rochella Macfarlane last year.  Incidentally Haryana lace Kaushalya won the junior women long jump gold with a leap of 5.87m.  Haryana athletes continue to triumph with more golds todays.  Hammer thrower Jyoti went home with a junior women gold (45.92m) while her name-sake got another in u-16 girls’ discus throw (37.37m).

/ Ram. Murali Krishnan /

Harshith sailed to a stunning height

 Ranchi, Jharkhand – 1 November 2011

 The 27th National Junior athletics championship begun here at Birsa Munda Stadium with a record as international Inderjeet Patel representingUttar Pradesh clocked an impressive 30:03.17 to win the Junior Men’s 10000m race.  Patel’s time shaved off the 15-year-old meet mark of Maharashtrian Bala Saheb Nikam by more than 20 secs.  Andhra Pradesh’s Surender Kumar pushed hard Inderjeet (17) until the last two laps and finished a credible second in 30:34.01. 

 But the focus shifted to the field when youth boys’ high jump commenced in the afternoon.   As expected the defending champion Shashidhar Harshith grab the attention of spectators and compatriots.   The lanky Karnataka jumper gave a pass to the initial three heights before making a ‘safety’ jump at 1.90m.  After skipping the next height (1.93), he had begun sailing over the crossbar in perfect manner right from 1.96 to an amazing 2.17m without any hitch.  Incidentally it was not only put in shade Tamil Nadu jumper Nikhil Chittarasu’s 2006 mark of 2.05m in a big margin, but also the National Youth Record of 2.13m held by Bengal boy Harishankar Roy since 2002.  

 Bihar’s Amarnath Ojha and Kerala athlete Sreenith Mohan have both cleared an identical height of 1.99m for silver and bronze medals respectively behind Harshith’s gold winning 2.17m. 

 Harshith, hails from India’s golden-town Kolar, was a first year Pre-University student in Bangalore M.E.S. College.  He finished eighth in the recent Open Nationals at Kolkata with a height of 2.10m.  Harshith could have comfortably won the gold there if he could have achieved what he did today in Ranchi.  Harshith is fast evolving on the Indian athletics highway and reminded us of Nallusamy Annavi (TN) in the eighties.  If groomed well, Harshith will bring more laurels to the country in the continental arena.  Hope the entire Karnataka team will celebrate his birthday on their return journey from Ranchi, four days from now!

 In the girls under-14 division, Anjana Thamke of Maharashtra bettered another meet and national mark in 600m with a time of 1:31.36.  Kerala runner Babita finished second in 1:37.71.   The champion state started its golden hunt through long jumper Athira Surendran (5.72m) and javelin thrower N.V. Sheena (40.71m).

 Maharashtra’s Monika Athare defends her title in junior women’s 5000m, while discus thrower Vikas did the same for Haryana in junior men’s category. 

 / Ram. Murali Krishnan /      

Ranchi, 24 October 2011  Athletics competitions for juniors were conducted at the beginning for a single age-group.  Boys and girls under the age of 16 took part along with seniors at the nationals in the late fifties.  Initially there had been 14 events for the boys and 10 for girls contested in the composite national meets of those initial years.  However the introduction of multiple age-groups and the increased number of junior athletes taken part at the national level have prompted the Athletics Federation of India to introduce a separate Junior Nationals in 1986 at Hissar, Haryana.

 The 27th edition of the junior national athletics championships will be held at Ranchi, Jharkhand, from November 1 to 4, this year.  Around 2,500 athletes from across the country are expected to take part in eight age-groups, four for boys and an equal number of divisions for the girls.  There will be a total 118 events (including 58 in the female section) to be contested in the four day meet at Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium.

 This will be the fourth major national meet at Birsa Munda stadium this year.  Beginning with the National Games in February, Jharkhand Athletics Association efficiently organised two other meets—the Youth Nationals in May and National Inter-District meet in October—prior to the season-ender in next week.

 The synthetic track in Ranchi is one of the fastest in India and is all set to welcome the future stars of the nation.  Athletes who excel in the junior nationals will be absorbed in the national camps to be held in various parts of SAI centres and considered for the national team to Asian and World junior championships in next year.

/ AFI /

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