On a day of improved performances, P. Kunhumohammed and Renjith Maheswary were in the limelight as the second Indian Grand Prix athletic meet was gone through at the NIS complex here on Thursday.
Kunhumohammed clocked a personal best 46.58s for the 400 metres while convincingly beating Shakeh Mortaja in the race for places in the Indian team for Asian Grand Prix meets and subsequent Olympic relay qualification events.
The 25-year-old Kerala and Services runner, who broke into prominence at the same venue during the 2010 inter-State meet with a timing of 46.86s, his best till now, had also won in the first GP meet here last Sunday, but in a poorer 47.11. The Olympic qualification mark stands at a stiff 45.90s
In fact it was the best timing in India since Bibin Mathew clocked 46.16 seconds in 2009. Incidentally, Mathew did not participate in the two GP meets.
Renjith, aiming to reach the Olympic qualification standard of 16.85m, touched 16.70m in the second round for his best result since 2010. He had a 16.54 and 16.57 in his last two jumps.
Arpinder Singh, who missed last Sunday's meet and who had the best mark among Indians last year (16.63m), came second with only 16.21m, his lone legal jump this day in the third round.
Joseph Abraham suffered a rare defeat at home in the 400m hurdles. Winner last time in a tight finish with Avin Thomas, he was beaten this time by 22-year-old Jithin Paul. The timings were better than last time, Paul clocking a PB of 50.44, as again his previous best 51.63 clocked for third place in the first GP meet, and Abraham coming home in 50.69s. Both were looking for the qualification standard of 49.80s.
“When you run for time, this can happen,” said Abraham, who holds the National record at 49.51s clocked in the World championships in Osaka in 2007. He went smoothly up to the eighth hurdle and then slowed down. Tightening up by the last hurdle, he fumbled there to end up second.
Not since the loss to P. Shankar in Bangalore, in May 2006 has Abraham lost to an Indian unless one counts the loss to Kuldev Singh in the last National Games in Ranchi, where he finished second initially but was promoted following the winner's doping disqualification.
M.R. Poovamma improved slightly from her Sunday feat in winning the women's 400m, in 54.36s, while Sinimol Paulose, making a return to track after a season's miss following marriage, won the 800m, the only addition to the women's section from the first GP meet.
Men: 400m: 1. P. Kunhumohammed (SSCB) 46.58s, 2. S. K. Mortaja (Ben) 47.70, 3. Ajay Kumar (Har) 47.71; 800m: 1. Ravinder Rautela (Ukd) 1:49.28, 2. Pankaj Dimri (Ukd) 1:49.38, 3. Ghamnda Ram (ONGC) 1:49.75; 400m hurdles: 1. Jithin Paul (RSPB) 50.44, 2. Joseph Abraham (RSPB) 50.69, 3. Satinder Singh (RSPB) 51.04; Long jump: 1. Ankit Sharma (MP) 7.62m, 2. Shamsher Pratap Singh Pun) 7.61, 3. Prem Kumar (TN) 7.42; Triple jump: 1. Renjith Maheswary (RSPB) 16.70m, 2. Arpinder Singh (Pun) 16.21, 3. Bhupender Singh (Pun) 13.86; Javelin: 1. Rajender Singh (Pun) 74.49m, 2. Samarjit Singh (Pun) 67.56, 3. Arun Patel (Guj) 64.86.
Women: 400m: 1. M.R. Poovamma (Kar) 54.36s, 2. Ratandeep Kaur (Pun) 55.82, 3. K. Sowjanya (AP) 56.12; 800m: 1. Sinimol Paulose (ONGC) 2:06.28, 2. Anupama Srivastava (UP) 2:12.68, Santosh (Har) DNF.