Chandigarh: Timings and throws improved for Indian athletes competing at the Indian Grand Prix-4 held at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula on Wednesday. That performances have gone up can be seen from the fact that four Indian athletes – in the men’s and women’s 1500m race – managed to clear AFI qualification guidelines for Asian Athletics Championships that will be held in Doha, from the 21st to the 24th of April. However, the final selection of Indian team for Doha championships will take place after 23rd Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships to be held from 15-18 March 2019 in Patiala.
Haryana athlete Manjit Singh Chahal, who had won a gold medal in the 800m at the Asian Games, grabbed the gold medal with a superb run in the men’s 1500m race. He crossed the finish line in a time of 3.45.37, going under the qualification guideline which stood at 3.46.00. He was joined by Ajay Kumar Saroj, who clocked a time of 3.45.75, also under the qualification guideline. Saroj, 22, will be hoping to defend his Asian Championships gold medal, having won the 1500m race at the previous edition in Bhubaneswar in 2017. Uttar Pradesh athlete Rahul didn’t make the cut, but would be satisfied with his bronze medal which he won by clocking a time of 3.48.63.
In the women’s competition over the same distance, Lili Das and PU Chithra went under the AFI’s guideline of 4.15.00. The 21-year-old Das, representing West Bengal clocked a time of 4.13.53 to edge out Kerala’s Chithra who clocked a time of 4.13.58. Chithra won the gold medal of the 1500m race at the 2017 edition of the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar. Haryana’s Usha Sharma was well off the pace, coming in third with a time of 5.03.00.
Despite their strong performances, the best athletes of the day award went to VK Vismaya of Kerala and Arokia Rajiv of Tamil Nadu who won the women’s and men’s 200m race. Arokiya Rajiv who won two silver medals over the 4×400 men’s and mixed team relay at the Asian Games last year, was fast off the blocks in the 200m race, and won with a time of 20.74, not far from the national record of 20.63 which stands in the name of Muhammad Anas. Rajiv was hardly challenged in his race, with national record holder Anas clocking 21.15 to take silver while Punjab’s Lovepreet Singh claiming bronze with a time of 21.59.
In the women’s race, VK Vismaya, who’s better known for winning a relay gold in the women’s 400m at the Asian Games won over the shorter distance with a new personal best time. Vismaya clocked 23.80 to shave .10 off her previous best of 23.90. She easily beat Karnataka’s NS Inchara who stopped the clock at 24.05 while Anjali Devi climbed the third step of the podium with a time of 24.35.
While athletics drew much of the attention, there were some good performances in the field events too. The highlight of the day came in the women’s javelin throw where Sharmila Kumari recorded a personal best throw to sound a warning early in the season. Kumari, who won a gold at the National Open athletics Championships last year, recorded a throw of 56.36m with her first attempt of the competition. The only other competitor, Prabhdeep Kaur of Punjab, wasn’t even close, recording a best effort of 38.12. Kumari is not far from the AFI guideline of 58m and will hope to touch that mark at the Federation Cup that will begin on March 15.
WOMEN’S 400M HURDLES- 1.Arpitha M (KARNATAKA) 57.93s, 2.Veerpal Kaur (PUNJAB), 1:00.61 3. Neha (PUNJAB) 1:12.19;
WOMEN’S TRIPLE JUMP- 1.Renu (HARYANA) 13.41m, 2.Anusha Gpoojary (KARNATAKA) 13.04m, 3.Niharika Vashisht (PUNJAB) 13.02m;
MEN’S JAVELIN THROW- 1.Abhishek Singh (UTTAR PRADESH) 75.57m, 2.Abhishek Drall (DELHI) 74.95m;
WOMEN’S SHOT PUT- 1.Kachnar Chaudhary (RAJASTHAN) 13.94m;
MEN’S HIGH JUMP- 1. Chetan B (KARNATAKA) 2.16m, 2.Sarvesh Anil Kushar (MAHARASHTRA) 2.10m, 3.Srikakolapu Ped Kamaraju (AP) 2.00m;
WOMEN’S JAVELIN THROW- 1.Sharmila Kumari (HARYANA) 56.36m, 2.Prabhdeep Kaur (PUNJAB) 38.12m.