Updated: September 16, 2021 3:45:25 pm
Parul Chaudhary of Railways established her domination over women’s 5000m with a gold medal-winning performance on the opening day of the 60th National Open Athletics Championships at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Warangal in Telangana on Wednesday.
It was a double delight for Railways when Abhishek Pal coasted home in men’s 5000m for his maiden gold medal at the national level.
In the evening, Tamil Nadu’s Pavithra Venkatesh soared to 3.90m to steal the gold medal in women’s pole vault from Mariya Jaison (3.80m) and Krishna Rachan (3.60m). Pavitra’s statemate Rosy Meena Paulraj missed out on the bronze medal on the countback as she took more chances while clearing 3.60m.
With the 5000m Federation Cup winner Amit Jangir missing from the start line, the race was always going to be a contest between Abhishek and the Services trio of Dharmender, Ajay Kumar, and National Inter-State gold medal winner Kartik Kumar.
In a tactical race, Abhishek was in the chase group but changed the gears in the home stretch with his powerful strides clocking 14 minutes 16.35 seconds leaving Dharmender, Kartik, and Ajay to fight for the minor places. It was Ajay (14:20.98s) who pipped Kartik for the bronze medal while Dharemender (14:17.20s) picked the silver.
It was the first-ever gold for Abhishek, 24, in the 5000m race at a national level meet.
In the women’s in the 12-and-a-half-lap event, Parul shadowed leader Komal Chandrakant Jagdale of Maharashtra closed and surged ahead in the last curve. Young Komal, 22, was not exactly caught napping but could not respond to the 2019 Asian Athletics Championship bronze medallist Parul touched the tape first in a time of 15:59.69s. Komal took silver with a personal best time of 16:01.43s while her more famed rival Sanjivani Jadhav also from Maharashtra was third for 16:19.18. Sanjivani, 25 is on a comeback from a two-year ban for dope violation and competing in only her third competition has a personal best of 15:51.58s set in 2017 at Mangalagiri, Guntur meet.
With the gold on Wednesday, Parul who hails from Meerut in UP, stamped her authority in 5000m event after winning Indian GP-3 (15:48.49) & 4 (16:01.37s), Federation Cup (16:03.23s), National Inter-State Senior athletics meet (16:04.07s), and Railways selection trials (16:17.93s) this season.
Muhammed Ajmal of Services, who shifted from sprints to the quarter-mile, clocked 47.08sin the men’s 400m heats to be the fastest of the eight qualifiers for the final. Ayush Dabas (Haryana) won his heats with a time of 47.24s. In the absence of national record holder Mohammed Anas, Arokia Rajiv, Noah Nirmal Tom who are all taking a break after competing in the Tokyo Olympics, seven of the qualifiers came with sub-48 seconds performance.
In women’s 400m heats, Dandi Jyothika Sri of Andhra Pradesh was the fastest clocking 54.83 seconds. Haryana’s Kavita, competing on the national stage after a gap, was the second with 55.14 seconds when Olympian V Revathi of Railways did not start while World U20 bronze medallist in mixed relay Summy of Haryana and Soniya Baishya (Railways) failed to qualify for the final on Thursday.
VK Elakkiadasan (Railways) and K Naresh Kumar (AP) were the fastest qualifiers for the men’s 100m finals winning their heats in 10.52s and 10.54s, respectively. Harjit Singh (Services) and Amlan Borgohain (Assam) were the other sprinters who dipped in under 10.60 seconds on their way to the final.
In the women’s 100m heats, Delhi’s Taranjeet Kaur broke the beam in 11.70 seconds, beating Archana Suseendran (Tamil Nadu) and Himashree Roy (Railways) to the second and third places. In the other heats, Nithya Gandhe (Telangana) got home in 11.90 seconds to beat the fancied C Kanimozhi (Railways) to second place.
The second day on Thursday will witness 15 events in men and women’s 20km race walk, men’s 100m, women high jump, women’s shot put, women and men’s 400m, men’s long jump, men’s javelin throw, men and women’s 1500m, shorter relays and decathlon.
Men’s 5000m: Abhishek Pal (Railways, 14:16.35s), Dharmender (Services, 14:17.20s), Ajay Kumar (Services, 14:20.98s).
Women’s 5000m: Parul Chaudhary (Rlys, 15:59.69s), Komal Chandrakant Jagdale (Maharashtra, 16:01.43s), Sanjivani Jadhav (Mah, 16:19.18)
Women’s Pole Vault: Pavithra Venkatesh (TN, 3.90m), Mariya Jaison (Rlys, 3.80m), Krishna Rachan (Rls, 3.60m).
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