M.R. Poovamma once again proved that she was the best woman quarter-miler in the absence of the six suspended athletes by winning the 400 metres in a personal best 53.70s on the second day of the Federation Cup athletics championships at the NIS Complex here on Sunday.

The 21-year-old Karnataka runner's timing was still way off the Olympic qualification ‘B' standard of 52.35s, but then the federation is looking to form only a relay team rather entering individual athletes in the one-lap race in London.

Towards the formation of a good relay quartet, even as everyone is waiting for the suspended athletes to return, the federation could not have gained much hope looking at the timings here. Second-placed Debashree Majumdar (55.45s) and third-placed Ratandeep Kaur (56.01s) were both a notch down their efforts in the Indian Grand Prix held earlier this month.

Poovamma bettered her winning times of 54.60s and 54.36s in the two Indian Grand Prix meets held earlier, and her timing was better than her previous best of 53.87s clocked while claiming the Open title in Kolkata last year.

Personal bests were also returned by high jumper Jithin Thomas (2.20m) and decathlete Vijay Kumar (7152 points).

The 21-year-old Thomas had a PB of 2.18 in Bangalore during the trials for the Asian indoor meet in February last. He stretched it to 2.20 on Sunday while scoring over National record holder Hari Sankar Roy for the first time.

Roy could manage only 2.05m, failing thrice at 2.10, eventually sharing the silver with two others.

The Olympic qualification mark (2.28m) happens to be better than the National record of 2.25m set by Roy in 2004.

Vijay Kumar of Haryana, who came into prominence with his 7106-point gold-winning performance at the Kolkata Open last year, won the decathlon title, upstaging former National champion P.J. Vinod (6488).

P. Kunhumohammed asserted his supremacy once again in the men's 400 metres, winning in 46.67s, well clear of S.K. Mortaja who timed 47.77s.

The Kerala man, in Chhattisgarh colours, could not however, better his PB of 46.58s clocked in the last GP meet here.

On a windy day, any hope that M.A. Prajusha could have nursed of making the Olympic grade in long jump was swept away. She had a best of 6.13m on her second jump, did 6.03 next and had four fouls in her sequence. The qualification mark stands at 6.65m.

The results: Men: 400m: P. Kunhumohammed (Cht) 46.67s, S.K. Mortaja (Ben) 47.77, 3. Bibin Mathew (Jkd) 47.87; 1,500m: 1. Sandeep Karan Singh (Har) 3:46.71, 2. Ravinder Singh Rautela (Ukd) 3:47.17, 3. Chatholi Hamza (Ker) 3:47.25. High jump: 1. Jithin Thomas (Ker) 2.20m, 2. Hari Sankar Roy (Jkd),  Chethan B. (Kar) and Jagdeep Singh (ONGC) 2.05; Decathlon: 1. Vijay Kumar (Har) 7152, 2. P.J. Vinod (Ker) 6488, 3. Kushwaha Chandrahas (UP) 6420.

Women: 400m: 1. M.R. Poovamma (ONGC) 53.70s, 2. Debashree Majumdar (Ben) 55.45, 3. Ratandeep Kaur (Pun) 56.01; Long jump: 1. M.A. Prajusha (Ker) 6.13m, 2. Shradha B. Ghule (Mah) 5.94, 3. Neena V. (Ker) 5.91; Shot put: 1. Patwant Kaur (Pun) 13.67m, 2. Smritikana Manna (Ben) 13.41, 3. Manjit Kaur (Pun) 13.09.

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