Hemraj Gurjar of Rajasthan sprang a surprise with a start-to-finish effort and Railways' Chhavi Yadav outsprinted Sanjivani Baburao Jadhav on the home stretch to win the men and women's 10km titles in the 57th National Cross Country Championships on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Hemraj, who finished 74th in the men's 10km at Warangal in 2020, strode to the pole position not long after the start and held that place till the very end.
By the 7km mark, he opened up a 25-second lead over Services' Anand Singh Rawat. Even though he slowed down a bit, he powered on to win by a 10-second margin.
Known primarily as a steeplechaser Chhavi, 30, was in the front all through the race, except at the 9km mark when Maharashtra's Sanjivani surged ahead.
The Railways runner stepped up the pace to regain the lead and win by a second. Chhavi, who was upgraded to bronze last year, claimed her maiden title at the national level.
The combined effort of Services men and Railways women's squads expectedly helped them to claim the team titles in this picturesque handloom town on the northern banks of the Brahmaputra river in Assam's Kamrup district.
Shivaji Parashuram Madappagoudra (Karnataka) won the men's U20 8km crown in 24:56.00 while Drashtiben Pravinbhai Chauduri (Gujarat) was victorious in the women's U20 6km race.
The results: Men (10km): 1. Hemraj Gurjar (Rajasthan) 30:24.00; 2. Anand Singh Rawat (Services) 30:34.00; 3. Nitesh Kumar Rupsingh Rathva (Services) 30:35.00. Team: 1. Services (Anand Singh Rawat, Nitesh Kumar Rupsingh Rathva, Deepak Singh Rawat and Mayangam Lungleng) 17 points; 2. Rajasthan 45; 3. Uttarakhand 66. Women (10km): 1. Chhavi Yadav (Railways) 35:05.00; 2. Sanjivani Baburao Jadhav (Maharashtra) 35:06.00; 3. Munni Devi (Railways) 35:27.00: Team: 1. Railways (Chhavi Yadav, Munni Devi, Sonika, Preenu Yadav) 13 points; 2. Uttar Pradesh 47; 3. Maharashtra 72. Men U20 (8km): 1. Shivaji Parashuram Madappagoudra (Karnataka) 24:56.00; 2. Onkar Rajendra Panhalkar (Maharashtra) 25:05.00; 3. Divbyanshu Kumar (Uttar Pradesh) 25:29.00. Team: 1. Maharashtra (Onkar Rajendra Panhalkar, Dhuladev Baban Ghagare, Surjeet Rajbhar and Dada Shingade) 44 points; 2. Delhi 49; 3. Haryana 50. Women U20 (6km): 1. Drashtiben Pravinbhai Chauduri (Gujarat) 22:00.00; 2. Beby (Uttar Pradesh) 22:15.00; 3. Pooja Verma (Uttar Pradesh) 22:20.00. Team: 1. Uttar Pradesh (Beby, Pooja Verma, Ranjana Rajput and Priya Patel) 26 points; 2. Maharashtra 32; 3. Haryana 58. Boys U18 (6km): 1. Walter Kandulna (Tamil Nadu) 19:06.00; 2. Aryan (Haryana) 19:33.00; 3. Rijwan (Rajasthan) 19:39.00. Girls U18 (4km): 1. Prachi Ankuch Devkar (Maharashtra) 14:50.00; 2. Shilpa Dihora (Gujarat) 14:53.00; 3. Pranathi (Karnataka) 15;12.00. Boys U16 (2km): 1. Aman Kumar (Haryana) 5:52.00; 2. Chunmun Singh (Delhi) 5:59.00; 3. Abhishek Kumar (Uttarakhand) 6:03.00. Girls U16 (2km): 1. Pratigya Panna (Tamil Nadu) 6:55.00; 2. Anshu (Uttar Pradesh) 7:01.00; 3. Janhavi Dnyaneshwar Hirudkar (Maharashtra) 7:05.00.