Shot putter Inderjeet Singh of Haryana won his eighth straight gold medal when he set a new meet record on the concluding day of the 55th National Inter-State Athletics Championship in Chennai on Monday. Inderjeet heaved the iron ball to 20.44m to easily finish on top and win his eighth gold medal on the trot in six months at the Nehru Stadium.
Starting with the gold in National Games in February, Inderjeet had won the Federation Cup title in Mangalore in May. After winning the Asian Championship in China, Inderjeet clinched a hat-trick of title wins in the three Grand Prix Series — in Bangkok, Panthumthani and Chanthaburi — in Thailand last month.
He then became the first Indian to win a gold medal in athletics at the World University Games when he won the shot put event in Gwangju, Korea in July. Inderjeet now has the ability to add to his haul on the biggest stage possible. He had already qualified for next month’s World Championship in China when he won his gold medal in Mangalore Federation cup with a throw of 20.65m.
Inderjeet, who was focus of all attention in Chennai, started the event with a 18.41m and improved upon it to 19.25m in his second throw. His fourth attempt was indicative of his intentions as he cleared 19.70m as his other two competitors were struggling to cross even the 18m mark. After dipping slightly with a throw of 19.36m in the fifth attempt, Inderjeet came up with a mark of 20.44m which was a new meet mark and he was adjudged as the best athlete of the meet. The old meet record stood in the name of his statemate Shakti Singh at 20.42m set in 2000.
Incidentally, Inderjeet also remained the lone athlete to create a meet record in this four-day event which also served as the qualifying meet for the World Championships.
However despite his achievement, Inderjeet lamented the fact that was competing without much support. “I have won five international gold in a row but have not got any support. Though I have been included in the TOP (Target Olympic Podium) scheme the support is very minimal. I don’t have a job and I am spending money from my own pocket. When I travelled back from world university games where I won gold to Chennai I had to pay from my own pocket,” said Inderjeet.
“This apathy from the government and lack of enough sponsors is making life very difficult for me. My dream is to win an Olympic medal and I will do my best but I expect support. My family has sacrificed a lot for my athletics career and I still have to borrow money from well wishers to make ends meet,” Inderjeet added.
Karnataka’s M R Poovamma won her fifth straight title in women’s 400m clocking 52.78 secs, while Tamil Nadu’s Rajiv Arokia claimed the men’s 400m gold clocking 45.72 sec. Poovamma was declared as the best women athlete of the meet. Arokia and Poovamma, however, failed to touch the World Championships qualification standard. In men’s 110m hurdles, Prem Kumar opened new entrant Telengana’s gold medal with a time of 14.39 secs followed by Pinto Mathew (Kerala) 14.43s and J Thiyagarajan (TN) 15.11s. Kerala (177.5 points) won the overall championship title followed by Tamil Nadu (146.5 points). Haryana (99 points) won the men’s title and Tamil Nadu finished runners-up with 76 points. The women’s title went to Kerala (144.5 points) and Tamil Nadu came second with (70.5 points).
Day 3 highlights:
Men 100m: 1. Dharambir Singh (Har) 10.51s; 2. Amiya Kumar (Odi) 10.58; 3. Vikas Gulia (Del) 10.65s; 400m: 1. Arokia Rajiv (TN) 45.72s; 2. A Dharun (TN) 46.87; 3. Jibin Sebastian (Chhattisgarh) 47.32s 110m Hurdles: 1. Prem Kumar (Telangana) 14.39s; 2. Pinto Mathew (Ker) 14.43s; 3. J Thiyagarajan (TN) 15.11s; 1500m: 1. Ajay Kumar Saroj (UP) 3:50.18; 2. Jinson Johnson (Ker) 3:50.56; 3. Ravinder Singh Rautela (UP) 3:51.43; 10,000m: 1. Lakshmanan (TN) 29:50.21; 2. T Gopi (Ker) 29:57.96; 2. Kheta Ram (Raj) 30:30.50; Long Jump: 1. Prem Kumar (TN) 7.91m; 2. Ankit Sharma (Har) 7.71m; 3. Samsheer (Karna) 7.55m; Shot Put: 1. Inderjit Singh (Har) 20.44m NMR; 2. Om Prakash (Har) 17.93m; 3. Shakti Singh (Raj) 17.53m
Women 100m: 1. H M Jyoti (Kar) 11.87s; 2. Merlin K Joseph (Guj) 12.08s; 3. Dutee Chand (Odi) 12.10s. 400m: 1. M R Poovamma (Kar) 52.78s; 2. Jisna Mathew (Ker) 53.51s; 3. Debashree Majumdar (Ben) 53.68s; 1500m: 1. Sushma Devi (Har) 4:22.05; 2. P U Chitra (Ker) 4:25.78; 3. Kiranjit Kaur (TN) 4:26.88; 100m Hudles: 1. Gayathry (TN) 13.88s; 2. K V Sajitha, (Ker) 14.32s; 3. Keerthana (TN) 14.78s