Anjali Devi ran the fastest 400-metre lap by an Indian for this season on Thursday, clocking 51.53 seconds at the National Inter-State Senior Athletics meet in Lucknow. This is a new personal best for the 21-year-old sprinter from Haryana.
The 51.53s timing is more than half a second better than the second-best timing registered by an Indian this season – the 52.09s lap run by Hima Das in the Czech Republic in July this year.
Anjali Kundu again ran smashing race in the women 400m to win National title with a PB of 51.53s & @IAAFDoha2019 qualification time. AFI’s camp policy might pour water over her todays efforts. However, earlier this year she was part of AFI camp in Turkey pic.twitter.com/6oiv1LGHKE
— Rahul PAWAR (@rahuldpawar) August 29, 2019
As things stand, according to timings posted this season in the 400m event, Devi is the only Indian woman to achieve the World Championship qualification mark of 51.80s. The qualifying period is till the midnight of September 6.
Devi had almost exploded onto the scene by posting a very impressive 51.79 seconds at the Open Nationals in Bhubaneswar last September, but had suffered a drastic dip in form after that. She was part of the national camp earlier this year but returned home after a string of poor results. Some of her timings this season between the two sub-52s laps were 54.50s, 55.98s and 56.40s.
She had been part of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) camp, along with India’s other premier sprinters, in Poland earlier this year, but had reportedly returned home after sustaining an ankle injury.
“Having not run since the Federation Cup (in March), I knew I would have to give my best in the final,” Devi was quoted as saying by PTI after winning the gold.
“I am grateful to all those who stood by me when I was getting my ankle treated. The national coaches have been in touch with me and I have trained under coach Rohtas Siwach at home before coming here,” she added.
In Thursday’s 400m final, second place was taken by Saritaben Gayakwad (52.96s) and third place was taken by Jisna Mathew (53.08s).