Inter-State Athletics: Anjali wins 400m gold, Jyothi Yarraji wins 100m
Anjali and Parul Chaudhary booked their berth at Asiads with gold in the 400m and 3000m steeplechase at National Inter-State Athletics.
Returning to the track after nearly four years following an injury lay-off, Haryana's Anjali Devi recorded a stunning personal best time to win the women's 400m gold in the National Inter-State Championship here on Friday, assuring herself a spot in the Asian Games-bound Indian contingent.
The 24-year-old Anjali, who last ran a 400m race in October 2019 at the Indian Open Championships in Ranchi, clocked 51.58 seconds to beat the up-and-coming Haimashi Malik (51.76s), also from Haryana, for the gold medal at the Kalinga Stadium on the second day of the competitions.
Anjali, whose earlier personal best was 51.53s she had clocked in Lucknow, left behind the Asian Games qualifying time of 52.96 seconds by nearly one-and-a-half seconds.
The 21-year-old Malik, as well as the bronze winner R Vithya Ramraj (52.49s) of Tamil Nadu and fourth place finisher Aishwarya Kailash Mishra (52.79s) of Maharashtra, all ran below the Asian Games qualifying time.
But, only two of the four will be selected as a country can send just two participants per event. In the morning session Anjali had run 52.03s in the semifinal heats while she had clocked 52.89s in the round one heat on Thursday.
All the three races she had run after recovering from a serious injury she had sustained in 2019 bettered the Asian Games qualifying mark. Four Indian quarter-milers running below 53 seconds augurs well for the country's hopes of winning six straight Asian Games gold in women's 4x400m relay since 2002.
In the men's 400m, Sri Lankan Kalinga Kumarage won the gold, clocking 45.64 seconds, while national record holder Muhammed Anas Yahiya of Kerala, who has also suffered injuries on and off recently, clinched silver with a time of 45.76s. Muhammed Ajmal, also from Kerala, and Amoj Jacob of Delhi were third and fourth with times of 45.90s and 45.91s.
All four top finishers bettered the Asian Games qualifying time of 46.17s, which like in the case of women, is good news for the Indian men's 4x400m relay.
B Siva Kumar of Tamil Nadu emerged as the fastest man of the championship as he clocked 10.37 seconds to win the 100m dash while Harjit Singh (10.45s) of Punjab and Elakkiyadasan K of Tamil Nadu were second and third respectively.
None of them could come close to the 10.19-second qualifying time for the Asian Games.
Jyothi Yarraji of Andhra Pradesh, the national record holder in 100m hurdles, became the fastest woman of the championship as she ran her personal best time of 11.46 seconds to win gold in 100m dash.
She came close to touching the 10.46 second qualifying time for the Asian Games, which showed how she has improved her timing in the 100m. Experienced sprinter Srabani Nanda of Odisha was second with a time of 11.59 while Himashree Roy of Haryana took the bronze with a time of 11.71.
In 3000m Steeplechase men, Balkishan won the gold with a timing of 8:38 but failed to meet the Asian qualification mark of 8:35.
In the women's 3000m steeplechase, Parul Chaudhary of Uttar Pradesh broke the meet record, clocking 9:34.23sec while winning the gold. She also bettered the Asian Games qualifying time of 9:47.00.
Four athletes also bettered the Asian Games qualifying time in the women's 1500m race won by KM Deeksha of Madhya Pradesh who ran 4:06.07sec.
National record holder Harmilan Bains, representing Punjab, was pushed to second, clocking 4:08.50 while Chanda of Delhi took the bronze with a time of 4:09.39. Pooja of Haryana was fourth with a time of 4:09.52.
Ever-improving Krishan Kumar took the gold in Men's 800m with a timing of 1:46.17 and breached the Asian Games qualification mark. Mohammed Afsal and Pradeep Senthilkumar won silver and bronze respectively breaking the Asian Games qualification mark.
Earlier in the say, National record holder Manju Rani of Punjab won gold in the women's 35km race walk event but failed to breach the Asian Games qualifying mark. The 24-year-old Rani clocked 3 hours 21 minutes and 31 seconds under hot and humid conditions to win the event but fell well short of the Asian Games qualifying mark of 2:58.30. She had clocked the national record time of 2:57:54 in the Indian Race Walking Championships in Ranchi in February.
Haryana's Juned Khan won the men's 35km race walk event, clocking 3:00:37.00 which was also well short of the Asian Games qualifying time of 2:35.00. National record holder Ram Baboo, who had won the title in the Indian Race Walking Championships in Ranchi with a time of 2:31.36.00, did not take part in the event.
(With PTI Inputs)