The husband-wife duo of triple jumper Renjith Maheswary and pole vaulter V.S. Sureka cornered the attention on the penultimate day of the SS Music-49th National inter-State athletics championship here on Friday.

It appeared the two had come with a clear plan to set new National marks and thereby improve on their previous bests. However, the two, competing around the same time, finally settled for new meet marks.

Renjith seemed on course for a new National mark. The start was electric but the degree of excellence faded out and his winning effort of 16.73 metres was way behind his National mark of 17.04m.

Sureka rose to 3.95m, a marginal improvement over her 3.90m set in 2006. Her National mark of 4.08m was quite a distance away.

With mannerisms that makes him an immediate hit with the crowd, the wiry Renjith’s first jump saw him sail well past the 16m mark but it was flagged a foul. That single jump promised much. The next was breathtaking as he touched 16.73m with a superb run and take off. From there the graph went downward.

Renjith, who later blamed the few dents on the turf at the start of the run-up for disturbing his rhythm, must have been satisfied that he was the only competitor to not only go past the 16m mark but also clear the Asian qualifying mark of 16.64m.

Sureka was, also in a way, a loner. She came on the scene when the others had completed their tries. With a 3.85m she ensured the gold and then with a 3.95m set the record. Indeed, if she had felt content at the stage, it was reflected in the way she fell at 4.05m. What came as a surprise was her expression of disappointment directed at the Tamil Nadu Association. “Lack of encouragement” was her grouse.

Arunjith sparkles

S. Arunjith of Kerala caused a ripple with his energetic run and finish in the 200m. For someone who had a personal best of 20.92s (Jamshedpur, 2007), Arunjith has begun to surge again. This was the first gold medal in a year and as he put it, “I was aiming for a flat 21s run, but a slight slip near the turn affected my plan.”

With a medal in the 100m earlier, the Kerala lad is eagerly hoping that he would come into AFI’s consideration for inclusion in the Asian championship team.

In the women’s section, the Bhopal National Open winner, K. Soujanya of Andhra led a 1-2-3 finish for her State.

Elam’s new record

Late in the evening, the day’s third meet record was set by Elam Singh in the 3000m steeplechase. The Uttarakhand athlete chipped away more than three seconds from Om Prakash’s 2008 mark.

The results:

Men: 200m: 1. S. Arunjith (Ker) 21.38s, 2. M. Manikandaraj (TN) 21.76, 3. C.G. Anas (Ker) 21.92.

3000m steeplechase: 1. Elam Singh (Uttr) 8:43.89s (NMR, Old: 8:46.92, Om Prakash, Gujarat, 2008), 2. Jai Bir Singh (Mah) 8:47.53, 3. Pritam Bind (Uttr) 8: 52.57.

Triple jump: 1. Renjith Maheswary (Ker) 16.73m (NMR, Old: 16.67, Amarjeet Singh, Jharkhand, 2008), 2. Amarjeet Singh (Jhar) 15.99, 3. Malkit Singh (Pun) 15.59.

Discus: 1. Prabhjot Singh (Pun) 52.17m, 2. Amrit Pal Singh (Jhar) 51.30, 3. Gurpreet Singh (Pun) 49.96.

Women: 200m: 1. K. Soujanya (AP) 24.33s, 2. H.M. Jyothi (AP) 24.48, 3. S. Geetha (AP) 24.71.

3000m steeplechase: 1. Sudha Singh (U.P.)10:21.88s, 2. Kiran Tiwari (MP) 10:40.10, 3. Rajshree Patil (Mah) 10:54.14.

High jump: 1. Sahana Kumari (Jhar) 1.82m, 2. Kavya (Jhar) 1.76, 3. Mallika Mondal (WB) 1.73.

Pole vault: 1. V. S. Sureka (TN) 3.95m (NMR, Old: 3.90, Sureka, 2006), 2. S. Saranya (TN) 3.30, 3. R. Jisha (Ker) 3.30.

Hammer: 1. Sukanya Mishra (U.P.) 56.96m, 2. Seema Jakhar (Har) 54.31m, 3. Usma Darayan (U.P.) 53.57.

20km walk: 1. Deepamala Devi (Jhar) 1:47:29.69s, 2. Supriya Adak (Mah) 1:52:59.61, 3. K.J. Sandhya (Ker) 1:54:38.83.

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