Dutee Chand broke her 100m national record to become the fastest woman of the meet while Hima Das clinched her second gold by posting a personal best in the 400m as they shared the spotlight on the final day of the 58th National Inter State Senior Athletics Championships.
The two easily clinched their berths in the Asian Games team by bettering the qualifying marks set by the Athletics Federation of India.
Dutee qualified in 100m and 200m while local favourite Hima booked the Asiad ticket in 200m and 400m.
The 22-year-old Dutee, representing Odisha, ran 11.29 second in the semifinal race in the morning to better her national record of 11.30 and later clinched the gold in 11.32 in the final to establish herself as a gold medal contender in the upcoming Asian Games.
The semifinal was run under very good conditions in the morning while rain had made the track at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium a bit heavy during the final race.
The qualifying time in the event is 11.67.
The gold medal winners in the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games had clocked 11.33 and 11.48 respectively.
“The final race was a bit heavy because of rain in the afternoon but despite that I clocked 11.32. I could have run faster in the final. In the semifinals the conditions were just perfect and I and my coach (N Ramesh) decided to go for the national record. I am very happy but I will try to further dip the timing,” Dutee said.
“In fact my target in this championships was to run 11:20. There are still eight weeks to go before the Asian Games and my target in Jakarta is to run below 11:20. I hope to peak there,” said Dutee who currently trains at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad.
Hima, on the other hand, kept improving in her timing as she clocked yet another personal best of 51.13 to take the gold, her second yellow metal after the one in 200m. She lived up to her billing to better her personal best of 51.32.
Nirmala Sheoran of Haryana, who also qualified for the Asian Games, finished second in 51.25 — her personal best.
Running in lane number five, Hima was behind Nirmala at the final bend but she was able to catch up with her senior rival at the final stretch for a tight finish.
“I did not have particular timing in mind before the race. I want to keep on improving my timing, including in the Asian Games also,” Hima, who is also the brand ambassador of the meet, said after her race.
She is number two in the Asian rankings in women’s 400m.
In men’s triple jump, Arpinder Singh of Haryana and Rakesh Babu of Kerala qualified for the Games after winning gold and silver with efforts of 17.09m and 16.63m respectively. The qualifying mark for this event is 16.62m.
Tamil Nadu’s Arokia Rajiv booked a spot in the Asian Games team by winning gold in the men’s 400m final with a timing of 45.78, which is better than the qualifying time of 46.04. National record holder Muhammed Anas had pulled out due to fever.
P U Chitra of Kerala also qualified for Asiad by winning the gold in women’s 1500m in 4 minute 11.55 second. The qualifying time for this event is 4:16.88.
Another Kerala athlete Jinson Johnson, who had broken the legendary Sriram Singh’s 42-year-old 800m record on Wednesday, clinched his second gold of the meet by winning the men’s 1500m but missed the Asian Games qualification time in this event. He clocked 3:45.12 while the qualifying time is 3:45.00.
In women’s heptathlon, Purnima Hembram of Odisha and Swapna Barman of Bengal qualified with aggregate points of 5898 and 5725, respectively, from the seven events.
Meanwhile, V K Elakkiya Dasan became the fastest man of the meet by winning the 100m dash in 10.39 seconds, which is well outside the qualifying time of 10.18.