Kerala’s 400m hurdlers steal the show; Manju and Deepmala retain crowns
Defending champion Satinder Singh of Punjab again proved to be the nemesis of hot favourite Joseph G. Abraham in the men’s 400m hurdles, on the third day of the Greenko 52nd National inter-State senior athletic championship, here on Monday.
The Kerala athlete was widely expected to win, having created the meet record of 49.91 seconds in 2009 and the National record of 49.51 at Osaka in 2007. It was expected that he would also make a serious bid to achieve the Olympic qualifying marks in this meet. The Olympic B mark stands at 49.80s and the A mark at 49.50s and, according to expert opinion, the Kerala runner on his day is quite capable of achieving these marks.
But he was off colour on Monday. He took the lead early and stayed ahead till the half-way mark.
But Satinder began to catch up and by the time the runners entered the home stretch, the two were going neck and neck.
Surge at the end
As they reached the last hurdle, the taller and sturdier Satinder had established a slender lead and as they went for the final dash for the tape, the Punjab runner charged ahead in a determined manner, while Joseph faltered and slowed down. He seemed to have realised that he had met his match and it was not going to be his day.
After charging across the finish line, Satinder fell flat on the track, overcome by his tremendous effort as well as emotion and joy.
He became the second runner after Joseph to go below 50 seconds mark. His previous best was 50.39s
But this was not Satinder's first win over the Asian Games medallist Joseph. The 25-year-old had defeated Joseph in the inter-State meet in Bangalore last year.
Joseph later said he had erred in trying to reach the qualifying mark in the heats itself, which had tired him out and prevented him from giving off his best on Monday.
In the women's 400m hurdles, Kerala made a clean sweep of the medals as Anu R, Raji C.T. and Darsana M.S finished in that order.
In the women's 4 x 100m relay, the host’s experienced squad of K. Sowjanya, G. Mounika, K. Mrudula and Satti Geeta edged out Kerala to take the gold. Maharashtra took bronze.
Champions who retained their titles were Manju Bala of Rajasthan in women's hammer throw and Deepmala Devi of Jharkhand in the 20km walk.
Men: 400m hurdles: 1.Satinder Singh (Pun) 49.99s, 2. Joseph G. Abraham (Ker) 50.39s, 3. Durgesh Kumar Pal (Mah) 50.80s; 4 x 100m relay: 1. Tamil Nadu 40.53s, 2. Kerala 40.97s, 3. Andhra Pradesh 41.21s; 20km walk: 1. Surinder Singh (Pun) 1:29.32.00s. 2. Sandeep Kumar (Haryana) 1:30.12.00s, 3. Maniram Patel (MP) 1:30.15.00s; Pole vault: 1. Bimin K.P. (Ker) 4.95m, 2. Preeth (TN) 4.90m, 3. Sunder Singh (Har) 4.70m; Long jump: 1. Arshad M. (Kar) 7.42m, 2. Prem Kumar (TN) 7.41m, 3. Maha Singh (Pun) 7.28m; Javelin throw: 1. Anil Singh (Del) 74.39m, 2. Rajender Singh (Har) 73.75m, 3. Samarjeet Singh (Raj) 72.74m.
Women: 400m hurdles: 1. Anu R. (Ker) 1:0.34s, 2. Raji C.T. (Ker) 1:0.47s, 3. Darsana M.S. (Ker) 1:0.93s; 4 x 100m relay: 1. Andhra Pradesh 46.79s, 2. Kerala 46.84s, 3. Maharashtra 47.36s; 20km walk: 1. Deep Mala Devi (Jha) 1:44.55.0s, 2. Ranjana Gupta (MP) 1:52.23.00s, 3. Anita Mahala (Raj) 1:53.0s; Hammer throw: 1. Manju Bala (Raj) 58.27m, 2. Anitha Abraham (Ker) 52.75m, 3. Sarita P. (Guj) 52.60m.