Uttar Pradesh's 17-year-old Rupal stunned pre-race favourite Priya Mohan of Karnataka to clinch the gold medal in the women's 400m at the National U-20 Federation Cup Athletics Championships here on Friday. Her win headlined a day on which 14 athletes secured World U-20 Championships qualification marks.
Rupal clocked 52.48, one-hundredth of a second faster than Priya (52.49) in a tight finish as both qualified for the World U-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia, from August 1-6. Rupal caught the eye when she clocked 53.73 seconds in winning the U-18 final in the National 400m Championships in New Delhi in October last.
In the three earlier head-to-head 400m races, she had finished second best to Priya, who had finished fourth the World U-20 Championships in Kenya last year. The array of qualification for the World U-20 Championships began with the men's 10000m race where all three podium finishers Rohit Kumar Yadav (Gujarat), Babubhai Bariod (Gujarat) and Sachin Singh Bohra (Uttarakhand) each met the qualifying mark.
The others who achieved qualifying standards for World U-20 Championships were Aman Khokhar (men's 100m), Madhavendra Shekhawat, M Krishik and A Graceson Jeeva (men's 110m hurdles), Chandrashekar (men's long jump), Sanyam and Sawan (men's shot put), Vivek (men's javelin throw) and Agasara Nandini (women's 100m hurdles).