Arya TS was still trying to catch her breath at the end of the 100-metre hurdles in the Under-17 category when her name was announced as the winner. While it was clear that Arya was the winner,the official confirmation saw her break into a smile. The gold was her first at the National School Games athletics meet. Arya had topped qualifying the previous day,but it was only when she won the elusive individual gold that she was relieved.
She won bronze in the 100-metre hurdles in Amritsar four years ago. At the Junior National Athletics Meet in Ranchi last year she won another bronze in the same event.
For the girl from Kannapuram in Kannur,Kerala,Sunday also brought another gold when she helped her team win the girls 4X100-metre relay,also in the U-17 category. The 100-metre hurdles gold,during which she clocked 14.8 seconds,according to Arya,was more memorable. What made it special was that at the same meet Anju Bobby George,many years ago,had a double. Anju had won the bronze in both events.
Arya has fought the odds while striving to become a national-level athlete. Her father was a driver and was constantly away on duty so she hardly remembers him. Her mother a housewife was ill and bed-ridden. It was at school that she fell in love with athletics.
Her teammates Nitya M,Anju PM and Sharbana S were part of the quartet which won the 4×100 event with a timing of 50.1 seconds.
Punjab sprinters shine
Jashanjot Singh of Punjab won the 100 metres gold in the Under-19 category with a timing of 14.5 seconds. Jatin Jain then gave Punjab its second gold with a dominating performance in the 200 metres by stopping the clock at 21.7 in the Under-19 section.