Image Credits: @AFI
Javelin Thrower Annu Rani's single-minded determination to produce a throw in excess of the Olympic qualification standard of 64.00m led her to rewriting her own National Record with a 63.24m effort on the opening day of the 24th Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports complex on Monday.
The 27-year-old World No. 12 came up with a standout performance, with three throws beyond 61m, and she led Uttar Pradesh to a three-gold show in four finals. The ball was set rolling by Savita Pal, 21, who made her debut in a 10000m race a memorable one by sprinting past Sanjvani Jadhav (Maharashtra). Shot putter Kiran Baliyan accounted for the third gold with a 16.45m effort.
On a day when no men's final was scheduled, the other gold medal was won by Tamil Nadu Pole Vaulter Rosy Paulraj who leapt over the bar placed at 3.80m. Yet, it was her sprinting team-mate S Dhanalakshmi who warmed the hearts of her team-mates even more with a stunning race in the women's 100m semifinals. She threw down the gauntlet for Dutee Chand (Odisha) with a 11.38-second 100m sprint that stunned viewers just as much as it would have her State-mate Archana Suseendran, who was second in that heat in 11.66 seconds. Taking to the track after Assam's Hima Das won her heats in 11.63 seconds, Dutee Chand clocked 11.51 without straining every sinew.
In the afternoon, Gurindervir Singh (Punjab) set a personal best time of 10.30 seconds in the men's 100m semifinals. It was the third fastest time by an Indian sprinter behind the 10.21 clocked by Anil Kumar in the year 2000) and the 10.26 clocked by Amiya Kumar Mallick (2016) and Sanjeet Singh (2018). It equalled the 10.30 by Mohammed Abdul Najeeb Qureshi (2010).
Exploding to a good start, he blazed the track to leave the field gaping in awe. Telangana's Amlan Borgohain was the second fastest qualifier, winning his semifinal heats in 10.44 seconds. Harjit Singh (Punjab) was the only other sprinter to dip in under 10.50 seconds when he won his semifinal heats in 10.48 on a day when Amiya Kumar Mallick (Odisha) clocked 10.73 twice.
The seasoned MR Poovamma led the eight qualifiers into the women's 400m final, powering to victory in 54.34 seconds, the second fastest time this season. The only other runner who dipped under 56 seconds was Aishwarya Kailash Mishra (Maharashtra) with a time of 55.05 in a race with VK Vismaya, who was running in the wrong lane after the first 100m.
Muhammad Anas Yahiya (Kerala) showed his form by topping the men's 400m qualification for the final with a 46.26-second run. Arokia Rajiv (Tamil Nadu) was another who showed good form by winning his semifinal heats in 46.84 after Amoj Jacob had cantered to stop the clock in his heats in 47.80 seconds.
The results (finals):
10000m: 1. Savita Pal (Uttar Pradesh) 33:59.35; 2. Sanjivani Jadhav (Maharashtra) 34:01.26; 3. Kavita Yadav (Uttar Pradesh) 34:04.45.
Pole Vault: 1. Rosy Paulraj (Tamil Nadu) 3.90m; 2. Pavithra Venkatesh (Tamil Nadu) 3.80; 3. Mariya Jaison (Kerala) 3.70.
Shot Put: 1. Kiran Baliyan (Uttar Pradesh) 16.45m; 2. Manpreet Kaur (Punjab) 15.65; 3. Sonal Goyal (Delhi) 15.09.
Javelin Throw: 1. Annu Rani (Uttar Pradesh) 63.24m (New National & Meet Records. Old National Record: 62.43, Annu Rani, Doha, 2019; Old Meet Record: 62.34, Annu Rani, 2019); 2. Sanjana Choudhary (Rajasthan) 54.55; 3. Sharmila Kumari (Haryana) 50.78.