Bengal’s swift 15-y-o Rezona Mallick Heena steals fancied sprinters’ thunder

AFI Media

Thiruvananthapuram, March 6: West Bengal’s Rezoana Mallick Heena gave herself a memorable present a fortnight before her 16th birthday when she not only rewrote the Girls U16 400m National Record but also clocked the fastest time by a female quarter-miler today in the fourth AFI National 400m Championships at the LNCPE here.

Rezoana Mallick Heena led from start to finish to win the day’s opening race in 53.22 seconds, a time that was to be faster than the efforts all other female 400m runners, including U18 winner Khushi Sadana Umesh (Maharashtra), U20 champion Priya H Mohan (Karnataka), a world U20 silver medalist, and women’s winner Dandi Jyothika Sri (Andhra Pradesh).

Daughter of a teacher from Shoindaga village in Nadia district, Rezoana moved from SAI Regional Centre in Kolkata to Bengaluru in November 2022, a year after her coach Kalyan Choudhary was appointed Chief Coach of the National Youth team. It is not the first time that she has created a National mark, having pegged the girls U16 300m record at 38.57 seconds in November last year.

“I was just following the instructions of my coach (Ajay Arjun) to go all out from the start,” Rezoana Mallik Heena said. “I had no idea that my time would be faster than that of my seniors today, but I am happy I was able to set another National Record. I wanted to make the best of the hard training over the past few months.”

The 22-year-old Dandi Jyothika Sri made light of the lead that Maharashtra’s Aishwarya Kailash Mishra with a sustained sprint over the lap to win in 53.26 seconds, the second best time in her career. Aishwarya Mishra and Kiran Pahal (Haryana), the two fastest Indian women 400m runners last year, settled for the second place in 53.49 seconds and 54.29 seconds.

Priya H Mohan was a comfortable winner of the women’s U20 race in 53.55 seconds while Khushi Sadana Umesh claimed the girls U18 gold in 56.18 seconds.

Muhammed Ajmal Variyathodi (Kerala) was the only male runner to break the 47-second barrier, today, winning the men’s final in 46.90 seconds. Barath Sridhar led a Tamil Nadu sweep of the podium places in the men’s U20 final, winning in 47.83 seconds, while Haryana’s Kapil was fourth in 48.26.

The results (finals):
Men: 1. Muhammed Ajmal Variyathodi (Kerala) 46.90 seconds; 2. Rahul Ramesh Kadam (Maharashtra) 47.51; 3. T Santhosh Kumar (Tamil Nadu) 47.72.
Women: 1. Dandi Jyothika Sri (Andhra Pradesh) 53.26 seconds; 2. Aishwarya Kailash Mishra (Maharashtra) 53.49; 3. Kiran Pahal (Haryana) 54.29.
Men U20: 1. Barath Sridhar (Tamil Nadu) 47.83 seconds; 2. AA Suraj (Tamil Nadu) 48.25; 3. R Abishek (Tamil Nadu) 48.25.
Women U20: 1. Priya Habbathanahalli Mohan (Karnataka) 53.55 seconds; 2. Kuldeep Kaur (Punjab) 56.97; 3. PR Neeharika (Tamil Nadu) 57.41.
Boys U18: 1. Ayush Baliyan (Uttar Pradesh) 50.42 seconds; 2. Himanshu Sharma (Uttar Pradesh) 50.52; 3. Mohan Kumar (Uttar Pradesh) 50.92.
Girls U18: 1. Khushi Sadana Umesh (Maharashtra) 56.18 seconds; 2. Shravani Sangle (Maharashtra) 57.88; 3. P Pavithra (Tamil Nadu) 58.23.
Boys U16: 1. M Nithin (Karnataka) 51.22 seconds; 2. Aryan Tyagi (Delhi) 51.65; 3. Sourav Dahiya (Haryana) 52.60.
Girls U16: 1. Rezoana Mallick Heena (West Bengal) 53.22 seconds (New National Girls U16 Record. Old: 54.57, Anjana Thamke, Lucknow, 2012); 2. Mansi Bharekar (Maharashtra) 56.77; 3. M Nethra (Tamil Nadu) 57.66.