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25th National Inter-Zone Junior Athletics Championships

Kochi, Kerala ‚Äď 24 September 2013
Thanks to the rejuvenated effort of their girl athletes, hosts Kerala State jumped in to the top spot in the girls division (257 points) and placed runners-up (378 points) behind Tamil Nadu (440.5 points) for the overall title in the three day silver jubilee edition of the National Inter-Zonal Junior Athletics Championships which concluded at Maharaja College Stadium here on Tuesday evening.
In the medal tally Tamil Nadu led the table with 28 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze medals closely followed by Kerala (24-18-19) while Maharashtra (14-12-15), Haryana (11-14-4) and West Bengal (8-11-11) finished in that order.
As much as six national records and eight meet marks were improved in the above championships.
Athletes from Kerala accounted for two of the three national marks which have been bettered on the final day.  Young Gayathry Sivakumar, who scaled 1.60m during the Kerala State Inter-Club championships earlier at Kochi and won the South Zone junior championships at Madurai with 1.56m, utilised the opportunity to establish an official national record in girls’ under-14 category at her training venue by high jumped 1.59m.
In a similar style half-miler Jessy Joseph, who clocked a personal best 2:06.82 while finished fourth in the Open Nationals at Kochi earlier this month, bettered the official meet and national youth girls’ record in 800m with a time of 2:08.67.
Parul Chaudhary, a second year B.A. student from Meerut who is holding the national youth record in steeplechase, registered the final national record of the meet as she clocked an impressive 6:57.68 to win the 2000m steeplechase gold in the Junior Women category.   Her state-mate Arjun Kumar improved the meet record in youth boys’ 3000m run with 8:37.97.
In five out of eight age-groups Tamil Nadu athletes adjudged ‚Äėbest athletes‚Äô award.¬†¬†¬†Augustine Yesudas and S. Archana, both completes their sprint double today, received this honour in the junior men and junior women divisions.¬†¬†A. Dharun (BU-18), R. Naveen (BU-14) and S. Lithiya (GU-14) were the other athletes from TN to take away the titles.¬†¬†Two Bengali quarter-milers Chandan Bauri and Tiasha Samadder in the under-16 categories for boys and girls besides Jessy Joseph of Kerala in the youth girls‚Äô section also got the above award.
Other prominent winners of the day includes Kerala walker K.T. Neena, distance runners Albin Sunny (Kerala) and Preeti Lamba (Delhi), sprinters Ch. Sudhakar (Andhra Pradesh) and M.S. Arun (Tamil Nadu), half-milers Mandeep Goyat (Maharashtra) and Prem Kunj (Bihar), triple jumper Mohammed Salahuddin (TN) and steeplechaser Neha Singh (Madhya Pradesh).
/ Ram. Murali Krishnan /
Naveen sets national mark in 600m while Amolak misses out in OctathlonKochi, Kerala ‚Äď 23 September 2013
Athletes from Kerala State put up an improved display on the second day of¬†the 25th National Inter-Zonal Junior Athletics championships here at¬†Maharaja College Stadium.¬† Although she was not winning the event, Lekha¬†Unni from host state was among the three athletes who bettered the¬†previous meet mark in 1,000m for girls‚Äô under-16 division.¬† Hails from¬†Mercy Kuttan Academy, the 14-year-old Lekha finished third with a time of¬†2:55.16, her personal best for the event.¬†‚ÄúWe believe in gradual improvement‚ÄĚ a smiling Mercy told after the race¬†when asking about her ward‚Äôs chance in the future competitions.¬† Nitu¬†Kumari of Jharkhand and Durga Deore from Maharashtra, who took the gold¬†and silver medals in the above event clocking 2:54.48 and 2:54.90¬†respectively along with Lekha improved the previous meet record set by¬†Mahrashtrian Anjana Thamke (3:01.43) at Pune last year.
Two other athletes representing Maharashtra have entered the record books as Sumit Kumar Jaiswal (400m hurdles) and Amolak Singh (Octathlon) in the youth boys’ category.  Jaiswal, who represented India at the World Youth Championships in Donetsk (Ukraine), clocked a PB of 53.81 secs to win the 400m hurdles that improved state-mate Satish S. Pasala’s last year performance by 0.05 secs.  Kerala’s Jithin Paul timed a much impressive 52.6 secs during the 19th edition of the Inter-Zone meet at Guntur six years ago.  However in events up to 400m distance, only performances registered by fully automatic time-keeping equipment will be eligible for record purposes and hence his performance was not considered.Amolak Singh, who hails from Punjab but representing Maharashtra here, has made a gallant effort to better his Army Sports Institute teammate Dileep Kumar’s national record in the eight-event Octathlon.  However he was just 45 points short while tabulating 5763 points at the end.  However he had the satisfaction of erasing the previous meet mark held in the name of Kerala’s Arun S. Kumar by a good margin of 305 points.  Incidentally the winner of Junior Men’s decathlon event, Baljinder Singh, also belongs to ASI Pune.Young Tamil Nadu athlete R. Naveen made it a double by adding the 600m gold to his 100m victory earlier.  Naveen, missed the national mark yesterday when taking the sprint title by just three hundredth of a second, went on shatter Haryana boy Puneet Chauhan’s meet and national record (1:24.54) as he ran an all-out start to finish race this morning in 1 minute 23.22 secs.  Teammate U. Bharath (1:26.14) and Assam boy Santosh Bhagat (1:28.87) takes the other two positions behind the winner.Tamil Nadu state continued to lead the points table while Maharashtra and Kerala occupied the next two spots at the end of day-2./ Ram. Murali Krishnan /
Augustine, Arun sets national marks on the opening day
Kochi, Kerala ‚Äď 22 September 2013
Sprinters from Tamil Nadu raised their state flag high as Augustine Yesudas and M.S. Arun romped home with national best performances in their respective age-group as the first day’s proceedings in the Silver Jubilee edition of the National Inter-Zonal Junior Athletics Championships unfolded in the serene atmosphere of the Maharaja College Stadium here on a sunny Sunday.
Augustine Yesudas, the 19-year-old second year Bachelor of Science student from Chennai’s Loyola College and a consistent winner of national titles in the youth division (under-18) for the past couple of years, got his first Junior division (under-20) gold here as he led a thin field of four athletes with his superb run.  Trained under Gnanasekharan in Karl Marx Sports Club, the TN sprinter clocked an impressive 10.57 secs that bettered the previous national mark of 10.61 secs held by Surender Singh of Haryana since 2004 Junior Federation Cup at Jamshedpur.  Augustine, along with state-mate Praveen Muthukumaran, equalled the hand-timed national best of 10.5 secs standing in the name of Jaspreet Singh set in the Inter-Zone meet at Hissar in 2000 and thus tipped to win here as defending champion Praveen Muthukumarsn preferred to concentrate on long jump.  Gujarat’s Ramanand (11.02s) and Maharashtrian Gaurang Ambre (11.09s) took the silver and bronze medals respectively.  That speaks volume of the story!
M.S. Arun, hails from Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu and currently studying in St. Paul’s Higher Secondary School in Salem, also shown a steady progress in the recent years and went on to obliterate the boys under-16 division national mark as he clocked 11.01 secs on Sunday afternoon that improved state-mate A.J. Mohammed Fayaz’s 11.03s which stood in the record books since 2006 junior nationals.
International S. Archana, a specialist in 200m, also cashed in the opportunity to clinch the gold in the 100m for junior women timed 12.10 secs and pushed her teammate P. Deepika (12.26s) to second place and avenged her defeat to the latter in the south zone championships at Madurai during the last month.
The opening day also witnessed meets marks being bettered only in boys‚Äô events through Chandan Baurai of West Bengal (400m ‚Äď 49.25 secs) and Abhishek Kumar Mishra of Madhya Pradesh (Shot put ‚Äď 16.20m) in under-16 category, R. Naveen from Tamil Nadu (100m ‚Äď 11.45 secs) in under-14 division as well as Haryana discus thrower Sachin (55.30m) in junior men‚Äôs category.
For the host state, M.D. Thara (GU20, 5000m), Shaharbana Sidhique (GU18, 400m), P.M. Arunima (GU20, 400m), Noah Nirmal Tom (BU20, 400m), Reshma Raveendran (GU18, pole vault), Jisna Mathew (GU16, 100m), M.K. Sinju Prakash (GU20, pole vault) and 4x100m relay quartet (GU20) brought some golden moments while C. Sirajudeen missed the top spot by just 2 cm as Uttar Pradesh’s Gaurav Kumar leaped 6.85m against the Kerala boy’s 6.83m in the youth boys’ long jump event.
/ Ram. Murali Krishnan /
Kochi geared-up to celebrate Silver Jubilee edition from tomorrow
Kochi, Kerala ‚Äď 21 September 2013
It looks as if yesterday, but 24 years passed already since the National Inter-Zone Junior Athletics Championships first held in 1989.  Sponsored by the globally popular Indian Tobacco Company Ltd (ITC), the above championships have been conducted at the Indian capital in the first eight years before started its sojourn in other Indian cities beginning 1997 at Kolkata.
The Maharaja College grounds, which hosted numerous national and international athletics events in the past, witnessed busy activities as a cream of India’s finest athletes from across the country take a feel of the tracks.   With its main entrance situated on the road named after legendary athlete P.T. Usha, the other side of the ground ran alongside the popular M.G. Road which houses Kochi’s best Jewelleries.  What a way to celebrate the unique occasion with athletes ready to set ablaze the tracks and go back with golden moments!
It is the first time that Kerala, especially Kochi, is hosting this prestigious championship (Sep. 22-14).  Originally started on the module of Continental World Cup with teams from four zones of the country fielded their finest athletes, it developed a solidarity among the athletes from different states within the region.  Incidentally it was the second biggest championship after the Junior Nationals and served as a forum to identify promising young athletes for the national camps, international championships, etc.    As the state units represented the AFI to allow their athletes to compete on their own banner, in the recent editions of the Inter-Zone championships athletes taking part representing their own states instead of the zonal name.
Many Indian athletes who excelled in the international sporting arena had made their steps through the inter-zone championships.  Incidentally the young Anju K. Markose (now Anju B. George), who won the long jump at these championships way back in 1996, went on to become a World championship bronze medallist seven years after.
The three-day meet in Kochi will be the first assessment trial for those aspirants wishing to make the Indian Team for the 2nd South Asian Junior Athletics Championships to be held at Ranchi on 17-18 November.
/ Ram. Murali Krishnan /

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