There were plenty of personal best marks as lesser-known athletes broke through to make their mark at the Federation Cup athletics meet at the Birsa Munda Stadium here on Sunday.
Praveen Kumar (400m), Sini Jose (women's 400m) and Jhuma Khatun (women's 1500m) posted career-best timings while winning their events.
Praveen, a 20-year-old Haryana athlete, beat the better-ranked Shakeh Mortaja while taking his first major title in a splendid time of 46.87s. Only five bettered 47.0 last year and Praveen touching such form so early in the season should augur well for India in the months ahead.
Sini Jose posted a 53.01s to claim the women's 400 metres, beating back the challenge of Jauna Murmu quite comfortably. This is the first major title for the 22-year-old Kerala woman. The field was shorn of its glamour by the absence of National record holder Manjeet Kaur and another top quarter-miler Mandeep Kaur, not to speak of the likes of Tintu Luka and Chitra Soman.
Jhuma Khatun pulled off a surprise victory over Sinimole Paulose in the women's 1500 metres, clocking a personal best 4:18.62, bettering her 4:21.27 clocked in Kochi in 2008 while coming second behind none other than Paulose.
Paulose, not in the best of form since last season, could not match Khatun's kick during the final surge on the straight, both having gone past Sushma Devi into the home bend. Paulose clocked 4:19.09.
Men: 400m: 1. Praveen Kumar (Har) 46.87, 2. Shakeh Mortaja (Ben) 47.04, 3. J. Prem Chand (TN) 47.10; 1500m: 1. Sandeep Karan Singh (Guj) 3:47.69, 2. Poomani Ebenazer (TN) 3:48.91, 3. Ranjan Kariappa (Kar( 3:49.78; High jump: 1. Nickil Chittarasu (TN) 2.15, 2. Jithin Thomas (Army) 2.11, 3. P. Shankar (Navy) 2.08; Long jump: 1. Raja Oommen (Ker) 7.42, 2. Ankit Sharma (MP) 7.39, 3. Rajpal Singh (Army) 7.37; Javelin: 1. Kashinath Naik (Kar) 74.06, 2. Vipin Kasana (Del) 73.92, 3. Anuj Kumar (Del) 72.71; Decathlon: 1. P. J. Vinod (Ker) 7119, 2. Vijay Kumar (Har) 6710, 3. Rahul Kumar (Army) 6576.
Women: 400m: 1. Sini Jose (Ker) 53.01, 2. Jauna Murmu (ONGC) 53.26, 3. K. Mridula (AP) 55.08; 1500m: 1. Jhuma Khatun (Ben) 4:18.62, 2. Sinimole Paulose (ONGC) 4:19.09, 3. Sushma Devi (AFI) 4:21.85; Triple jump: 1. Mereena Joseph (Ker) 12.55, 2. Joyline Lobo (Kar) 12.55, 3. Papia Khatun (Ben) 12.22; 20,000m walk: 1. K. M. Meeshma (Ker) 1:50:45.34, 2. Meena Chhikara (CRPF) 1:53:57.63, 3. Lamanganbi Devi (Manipur) 2:07:26.34.