Sajeesh Joseph and Mayookha Johny clinch individual honours

Kerala, a powerhouse in athletics, annexed the men's, women's and the overall team honours and extended its domination to the individual ‘best athlete' stakes as well with Sajeesh Joseph (800 metres gold) and Mayookha Johny (long jump gold with a New Meet record) winning the best men and women's awards, respectively.

Kerala with 13 golds (four men and nine women) was far ahead of Punjab with six gold medals (three men, three women). Tamil Nadu men earned three gold, four silver and one bronze to finish second best while its women had just a solitary gold to show through S. Saraswati. Karnataka women ended up third with two gold medals, behind Kerala and Punjab.

Sudha's meet record

On the concluding day of the senior inter-State athletics championship at the Sree Kanteerava stadium, Sudha Singh ran without pressure to clock 10:01.24s for the women's 3000 metres steeplechase, with a meet record to boot. The Asian Games gold medallist at Guangzhou shrugged away the initial challenge from O.P. Jaisha, now running for Punjab, and won with a lot to spare.

The 25-year-old who clocked 9:55.67 seconds for the gold in Guangzhou turned in a time of 10:01.24 seconds to obliterate Jaisha's old record of 10:03.05 seconds which she set last year.

Jaisha was found woefully ‘jittery' at the water jump and even conceded her second place to Priyanka Singh Patel (10:21.37s), also from UP, while finishing third in a time of 10:25.10 seconds. Kashinath Naik's superb heave of the javelin, on his fourth attempt, fetched him the gold and a perfect ‘wedding gift', with an effort of 73.77 metres. The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, married recently, is with the Army Sports School in Pune.

Sajeesh Joseph upstaged Ghamanda Ram for the 800 metres title. “He raised his hands while I dipped,” said an elated Sajeesh who clocked 1:47.34, a personal best effort which also ensured him the ‘best athlete' tag.

Easy for Tintu

The corresponding women's event was once again a one horse race as Tintu Luka, a product of the famous P.T. Usha Academy, made every bend a winning one to win comfortably in a time of 2:05.32 seconds.

National record-holder Amritpal Singh was a far cry from his best at the long jump pit, nevertheless a 7.81 metres leap in his second attempt was enough for the gold although Ankit Sharma with a 7.74 metres in his first jump had upped the competition.

The results:

Men: 200m: 1. Joseph (Kar) 21.82s; 2. Manikanda Arumugam (TN) 21.88; 3. Mayur Malbiya (Guj) 21.90. 800m: 1. Sajeesh Joseph (Ker) 1:47.34; 2. Ghamanda Ram (Raj) 1:47.37; 3. Satnam Singh (Pun) 1:48.31. 110m hurdles: 1. Surendhar (TN) 14.62; 2. M. Krish Beethovan (Manipur) 14.66; 3. M.K. Sumanth (Kar) 15.14. 4x100m relay: 1. Tamil Nadu (Vijaya Kumar, Manikanda Arumugam, Praveen Kumar, Al Ameen) 41.33; 2. Kerala 41.58; 3. Karnataka 41.83. 4x400m relay: 1. Kerala (K. Shareef, V.B. Bineesh, Avin A. Thomas, Jithin Paul) 3:14.08; 2. Karnataka 3:14.59; 3. Punjab 3:15.51. Long jump: 1. Amritpal Singh (Pun) 7.81m; 2. Ankit Sharma (MP) 7.74; 3. Sudhir (Har) 7.70. Javelin throw: 1. Kashinath Naik (Kar) 73.77m; 2. Amit Majumdar (Bihar) 71.18; 3. Rajender Singh (Har) 70.68.

Women: 200m: 1. K. Mrudula (AP) 24.93s; 2. Archana (TN) 25.27; 3. Rebecca Jose (Kar) 25.38. 800m: 1. Tintu Luka (Ker) 2:05.32; 2. S.R. Bindu (Ker) 2:10.32; 3. Pavithra (TN) 2:12.60. 100m hurdles: 1. M.M. Anju (Ker) 13.90; 2. Kalaivani (TN) 14.60; 3. V. Hani (Chhattisgarh) 15.22. 3000m steeplechase: 1. Sudha Singh (UP) 10:01.24, NMR (Old record: O.P. Jaisha 10:03.05, 2010); 2. Priyanka Singh (UP) 10:21.37; 3. O.P. Jaisha (Pun) 10:25.10. 4x100m relay: 1. Kerala (C. Shilpa, Neethu Rajan, Shamna Muhammed, P.K. Priya) 46.99; 2. Tamil Nadu 47.65; 3. West Bengal 47.87. 4x400m relay: 1. Kerala (R. Anu, C. Arya, Tiana Mary Thomas, Tintu Luka) 3:44.81; 2. Tamil Nadu 4:00.51; 3. Andhra Pradesh 4:03.71. Shot put: 1. P. Udaya Lakshmi (AP) 14.14m; 2. Vasumathi (TN) 13.24; 3. Sonia (Har) 13.13.

Medal tally (read as G: Gold, S: Silver, B: Bronze): 1. Kerala 13, 7, 7; 2. Punjab 6, 3, 7; 3; Tamil Nadu 4, 10, 4; 4. Karnataka 4, 2, 3; 5. Uttar Pradesh 3, 4, 1.

Best athlete: Men: Sajeesh Joseph (Ker); Women: Mayookha Johny (Ker).

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