Bhubaneswar: Three athletes achieved the Hangzhou Asian Games qualification time in their respective events on the opening day of the 62nd National Inter State Senior Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.
Haryana’s international sprinter Anjali Devi dipped below the Asian Games qualification time of 52.89 seconds. During the women’s 400m heats today she clocked 52.96 seconds.
While it was a big pay day for Uttar Pradesh distance runners—-Kartik Kumar and Gulveer Singh. On their way to podium in the men’s 10,000m, both Kartik Kumar and Gulveer Singh bettered the Hangzhou Asian Games qualification time of 29:30.00. Kartik’s gold medal winning time was 29:01.84 seconds, while Gulveer Singh finished a close second at 29:03.78 seconds. “My next goal is to win a medal at the Asian Games,” Kartik Kumar said in a post-race interaction.
Both Kartik Kumar and Gulveer Singh also improved the previous meet record of 29:06.17 clocked way back in 2007 by Olympian Surendra Singh, who is overseeing national camp in Bengaluru.
In a fast-paced race third and fourth runners—Pritam Kumar of Delhi and Harman Jot Singh of Madhya Pradesh also dipped below the Asian Games qualification time of 29:30.00.
Abhishek Pal of Uttar Pradesh, pre-race favourite, quit the race with nine laps to go due to stomach cramps. “I missed the chance to qualify for the Asian Games,” he said.
In the women’s 25-lap event Seema of Himachal Pradesh upset her more experienced rival Sanjivani Jadhav of Maharashtra. In a tactical race, Seema pushed for home in the last two rounds to cross the finish line in 34:20.01 seconds. Seema’s performance at Bhubaneswar’s eight-lane Kalinga Stadium was nearly two minutes slower than the Asian Games qualification time of 32:30.24 seconds. “I could have done better had someone pushed me in the last 2km of the 25-lap event,” Seema said in a post-race interaction.
While Sanjivani considered favourite to win gold, said it wasn’t her day. The Maharashtra’s international runner conserved her energy to push hard in the second half of the race, but she wasn’t able to execute her pre-race plans and eventually finished second. “My goal today was to qualify for the Asian Games, but I fell short of my target,” She added. Sanjivani recently clocked a personal best of 32:46 seconds in the women’s 10,000m event during Portland Track Festival and was hopeful to improve her performance in the next race.
The men 20km race walk saw Haryana seasoned athlete Sandeep Kumar take home the gold medal, while Bhawna Jat of Rajasthan added women’s 20km race walk title to her profile. Bhawna’s gold medal winning time of 1:37:03.00 was better than the previous meet record of 1:39:00 clocked by Deepmala Devi in 2006.
Results (all finals):
Men: 10,000m: Kartik Kumar (Uttar Pradesh) 29:01.84 secs, Gulveer Singh (UP) 29:03.78 secs, Pritam Kumar (Delhi) 29:22.36 secs.
20km race walk: Sandeep Kumar (Haryana) 1:27:12, Servin S (Tamil Nadu) 1:28:21, Hardeep (Haryana) 1:28:57
Women: 10,000m: Seema (Himachal Pradesh) 34:20.01 secs, Sanjivani Jadhav (Maharashtra) 34:34.10 secs, Poonam Dinkar (Maharashtra) 34:45.42 secs.
20km race walk: Bhavna Jat (Rajasthan) 1:37:03.00, Priyanka Goswani (UP) 1:40:33.00, Vandana (Karnataka) 1:41:54.00.