Kerala long jumper Ancy Sojan broke the Girls Under-21 long jump record with a personal best performance of 6.36m in winning a memorable competition against Tamil Nadu’s Sherin Abdul Gafoor at the Khelo India Youth Games 2020 on Sunday. It was a gripping contest that the two jumpers treated the onlookers with.
A student of the Nattika Government Fisheries Higher Secondary School, Thrissur, she had a 6.24m jump in the Kerala State School Meet. She went 2cm farther in the SGFI National School Athletics Championship in Sangrur last month. And on Sunday, she was primed to deliver her best jump of the season.
Quite naturally, she was delighted that she could sustain consistency here with a string of five jumps exceeding 6m – 6.11, 6.36, 6.29, 6.08 and 6.13 before fouling her final jump. Tamil Nadu’s Sherin Abdul Gafoor, who set the mark at 6.15m last year, picked up the gauntlet thrown down by Ancy Sojan. She had a series that read 5.99, 6.16, 6.11, 6.06, 6.30 and 6.13.
Away from the jumping pit, the talking point at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium was Madhya Pradesh which topped the table in track and field sport with 10 medals, including five gold and two silver. Traditional athletics leaders like Haryana and Kerala have two gold each. Madhya Pradesh is reaping the rewards for the work done by the MP Athletics Academy in Bhopal.
Ikram Ali Khan won the Boys Under-21 discus throw with a new meet record of 53.82m, edging out Haryana’s Abhay Gupta by just 1cm. Having got the silver medal in Pune last year after winning the Khelo India School Games gold in New Delhi, he experienced the heady feeling of finishing on top of the podium yet again.
Pole vaulter Sandeep Kumar was Madhya Pradesh’s other gold winner on Sunday morning, clearing 4.05m to leave the Boys Under-17 competition behind. As someone who cleared 4.45m for bronze in the National Junior Athletics championship in Guntur, he was confidence personified. He entered the competition at 4.00m and needed just one more jump to assure himself of gold.
At the Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education, Sonapur, Maharashtra girl cyclists Madhura Waykar (Under-21) and Pooja Danole (Under-17) won the Individual Time Trials to keep their State on top of the charts across disciplines. Odisha’s Dinesh Kumar and Rajasthan’s Mukesh Kumar Kaswan won the Boys Under-21 and Under-17 crowns.
Hailing from Rourkela where there is no velodrome, Dinesh Kumar powered his way into the Indian youth team in 2017 when he competed in the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas. Training at the Sports Authority of India’s Centre in the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium Complex, this grandson of a fruit-seller is rising to be among India’s best.