India had disappointment in the World championships on Sunday as long jumper Mayookha Johny finished ninth and the walkers, Gurmeet Singh and Babubhai Panucha, also fared poorly.
Mayookha could manage only a 6.37m, on her opening jump in the final, and should feel lucky to have avoided a lower placing thanks to the stunning failure of Olympic champion Maurren Higa Maggi of Brazil (6.17m, 11th) and that of Naide Gomes of Portugal (6.26m, 10th).
Maggi had led the qualifiers on Saturday with a 6.86 while Gomes was one of the automatic qualifiers with 6.76. Maggi, who has served a doping suspension, has 46 legal marks over 6.80 metres including five marks over seven metres.
Mayookha, at 6.53 for 10th place in the qualification round, on the other hand, could have been looking for an improvement of her personal best of 6.64m that would have given her an Olympic berth.
That did not come about on an evening when all the top jumpers also struggled in a below-par competition.
Mayookha had two other jumps of 6.31m and 6.26m and failed to make the last three rounds.
Perhaps, Mayookha had a problem coping with the back-to-back qualification round and final on successive days. The big stage also obviously hampered her.
To have followed Anju George as the second Indian long jumper to have made the final in a World championship should prove good enough for the moment for the 22-year-old Kerala woman. Anju took the bronze in 2003 to become the only Indian to win a World championship medal.
American Britney Reese retained her title with an opening round 6.82 metres. That was her only legal jump. Olga Kucherenko of Russia was second at 6.77m, while Ineta Radevica took Latvia's first medal in the Worlds, the bronze at 6.76m, her season best.
Mayookha will figure in the triple jump qualification on August 30.
Walkers Gurmeet and Panucha finished poorly, at 30th and 31st places respectively in the 20km event.
Gurmeet timed 1:26:34 while Panucha recorded 1:26:53.
The Indians were among 38 finishers out of 46 starters. Four of them were disqualified and four others did not finish.
Valeriy Borchin of Russia retained his world title in 1:19:56, with team-mate and World record-holder Vladimir Kanaykin coming second in 1:20:27.
Colombia's first ever
Luis Fernando Lopez took the bronze, Colombia's first ever in the championships, in 1:20:38. World leader (1:18:30) Zhen Wang of China was fourth in a time of 1:20:54.
Gurmeet, projected by some Indian athletics ‘experts' as an Olympic medal contender, following his National record of 1:20:35 at Patiala last May, had further strengthened his credentials by qualifying for the London Games with an ‘A' standard (1:22:30) at the Dublin international meet in June.
(The Patiala meet did not have a full complement of qualified race walking officials to supervise the event).
Panucha, former National record holder, had also made the London grade in Dublin by clocking 1:23:02, a personal best.
These timings did project the Indians as possible top 20 finishers in the Worlds, but they were never in contention on a hot and humid morning.
The conditions did take a toll of some of the athletes at the finish and the medical attendants were kept busy.
At the half-way stage, Gurmeet (42:26) was lying 36th and Panucha (42:38) was keeping pace with his teammate, just behind.
Panucha had finished a creditable 20th among 50 participants in the 2009 Berlin Worlds, in 1:23:06, a national record then.
Keywords: World championships