Annu Rani bettered her own javelin throw national record but still missed the Tokyo Olympics qualification mark by more than half a metre on the opening day of the Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships here on Monday. Rani clinched the gold with a best throw of 63.24m which she came up in her third attempt, obliterating her earlier national mark of 62.43m which she had recorded during the World Championships in Doha in 2019. The Tokyo Olympics qualification mark for women's javelin throw is 64m.
The 28-year-old, who had won a bronze in the 2014 Asian Games and a silver in the Asian Championships in 2019, was representing Uttar Pradesh in the national event. Sanjana Choudhary of Rajasthan was a distant second with a best throw of 54.55m while Haryana's Kumari Sharmila was third with a best effort of 50.78m in the eight-athlete field. Rani led Uttar Pradesh to a three-gold show from four finals on the day.
The ball was set rolling by 21-year-old Savita Pal who made her debut 10000m race a memorable one by sprinting past Sanjvani Jadhav (Maharashtra). Shot putter Kiran Baliyan accounted for the third gold with a 16.45m effort. On a day when no men's final was scheduled, the other gold medal was won by Tamil Nadu Pole Vaulter Rosy Paulraj, who leapt over the bar placed at 3.80m.
Yet, it was her state-mate S Dhanalakshmi who produced a stunning race in the women's 100m semifinals. She threw down the gauntlet for Dutee Chand (Odisha) with a 11.38-second 100m sprint. Taking to the track after Assam's Hima Das won her heats in 11.63 seconds, Dutee Chand clocked 11.51 without straining too much.
In men's 100m semifinals, Gurindervir Singh (Punjab) set a personal best time of 10.30 seconds. It was the third fastest time by an Indian sprinter behind the 10.21 clocked by Anil Kumar in 2000 and the 10.26 by Amiya Kumar Mallick in 2016 and Sanjeet Singh in 2018. It equalled the 10.30 clocked by Mohammed Abdul Najeeb Qureshi in 2010.
The seasoned MR Poovamma led the eight qualifiers into the women's 400m final, powering to victory in 54.34 seconds, the second fastest time this season. The only other runner who dipped under 56 seconds was Aishwarya Kailash Mishra (Maharashtra) with a time of 55.05, while VK Vismaya found herself running in the wrong lane after the first 100m.
Muhammad Anas Yahiya (Kerala) showed his form by topping the men's 400m qualification for the final with a 46.26 second run. Arokia Rajiv (Tamil Nadu) also showed good form by winning his semifinal heats in 46.84 after Amoj Jacob had stopped the clock in his heats in 47.80 seconds.