Seema Antil put everything into a last-round throw to edge Harwant Kaur for the gold in the women’s discus competition of the Open National athletics championships here on Tuesday.
Trailing till the last round behind Harwant, who surprisingly kept her modest first-round lead of 56.52 metres into the sixth round, Seema came up with a 57.53m effort to clinch the top spot. Harwant eventually managed 57.02m for the silver while Krishna Poonia, who was one of the favourites to win the title, came a poor third with 55.82 metres.
Harwant had been having an indifferent season with a best of 54.07m in Chennai in May only giving her the third place behind Poonia and Antil in the rankings so far. She had gone off to Australia for a while before returning home to renew her challenge.
Antil, who complained of a back problem, had also struggled through the season, but with a 59.85m effort in the World championships in Berlin she had come back into the limelight. Tuesday’s mark, though it fell below her standards — she holds the National record at 64.64m —at least showed her fighting spirit.
Poonia, who has also been troubled by a back strain, fouled four of her attempts. She leads the season with 60.78m. Like it has been for the past few years, the form has swung like a pendulum for the Indian woman discus throwers this season also.
Sharadha Narayana won the women’s short sprint, upsetting H.M. Jyothi, 11.71s to 11.73s. This was the second National title for the Tamil Nadu and Railway woman who had won in Jamshedpur in 2007. Sharadha had shown top form earlier this season, clocking a personal best of 11.64s to win the ‘B’ race in the Chennai Indian GP.
The men’s 100m final was pushed into the second day with the National coaches arguing that it would be difficult for their wards to run three races in one day after having initially agreed to the programme.
Surendra Kumar Singh’s attempt to clock a sub-13:45 for the 5000 metres failed though he won the event comfortably in 13:59.94. He had clocked a personal best 13:40.45 while winning the Asian Grand Prix title in Kunshan, China, last May.
Kavita Raut, another National camper like Surendra, claimed the women’s 5000 metres in 16:13.17, her second best career timing. For the better part of the race, Kavita had to run all alone, with second-placed Jhuma Khatun coming in 17:01.80.
The results: Men: 5000m: 1. Surendra Kumar Singh (Ser) 13:59.94, 2. Sandeep Bathum (Rly) 14:34.26, 3. Sandeep Karan Singh (Ser) 14:34.51; Pole vault: 1. Bimin K.P. (Rly) 5.00m, 2. Gajanan Upadhyaya (Rly) 4.70, 3. Sunder Singh (Pol) 4.60; Long jump: 1. Maha Singh (Rly) 7.79m, 2. Mohammad Ibrar (UP) 7.61, 3. Hari Krishnan (Ser) 7.59.
Women: 100m: 1. Sharadha Narayana (Rly) 11.71s, 2. H.M. Jyothi (AP) 11.73, 3. Priya P.K. (Ker) 12.11; 5000m: 1. Kavita Raut (Mah) 16:13.17, 2. Jhuma Khatun (Rly) 17:01.80, 3. Lalita Babar (Rly) 17:25.08; Discus: 1. Seema Antil (Har) 57.53m, 2. Harwant Kaur (Pun) 57.02, 3. Krishna Poonia (Rly) 55.82 .