Steeplechaser Sudha Singh and javelin thrower Annu Rani’s new meet records were the highlights of the penultimate day of the four-day 53rd Open National athletics championship at the Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium here on Monday.

The day also saw quarter-miler M.R. Poovamma sweeping the 400m gold and favourites ruling the roost despite a steady drizzle throughout the evening.

The day’s first record came from Annu Rani (ONGC) who not only defended the title she won at Chennai last year but also improved Gurmeet Kaur’s 53.77m with a 54.35m in her second attempt. Her effort is also the season’s best.

Running a lone race in a poor field, Sudha had no one except chief National coach Bahadur Singh to shout encouraging words.

Sudha’s time of 10:09.04s bettered her own mark of 10:09.56s set at Kochi in 2010.

In what was billed as the race of the championships, Poovamma triumphed in the women’s 400m clocking 53.96. She thus completed a creditable treble after wins at the Federation Cup and Inter-State events. She had also taken all the three Grand Prix gold medals and a silver medal at the Asian Championships in Pune.

Tamil Nadu’s Gayathry, by clocking 13.70 seconds, won her third Open gold in the 100m hurdles. She had triumphed in 2009 and 2010. With a vault of 3.70 metres, Khyatri S. Vakharia (ONGC) added the Open title to her inter-State and Federation Cup gold medals.

In the men’s section, Jaiveer Singh (Services) and Arjun (Haryana) won the 3000m steeplechase and discus gold medals respectively to complement their Federation Cup and inter-State titles. High hurdler Arumugam Suresh (Railways) and high jumper Jithin Thomas (Services) also defended their crowns.

The results:

Men: 3000m steeplechase: 1. Jaiveer Singh (Ser) 9:00.41s, 2. Sachin Patil (Rly) 9:09.12, 3. Karamvir (Ser) 9:14.15.

110m hurdles: 1. A. Suresh (Rly) 14.19s, 2. K. Prem Kumar (AP) 14.34, 3. Bala Murugan (TN) 14.41.

High jump: Jithin C. Thomas (Ser) 2.11m, 2. A. Shaiju (Ser) 2.08, 3. Chetan (Kar) 2.05.

Discus: 1. Arjun (Har) 54.10m, 2. Dharam Raj (Ser) 50.99, 3. Karan Singh (Rly) 50.19.

20 km walk: Ganapathi (Ser) 1:27:18.15s, 2. Gurmeet Singh (Rly) 1:28:19.30, 3. Baljinder Singh (Pun) 1:29:09.08.

Women: 400m: 1. M.R. Poovamma (ONGC) 53.96s, 2. Chavi Sharawat (Rly) 54.44, 3. Anu Mariam Jose (LIC) 54.59.

3000m steeplechase: 1. Sudha Singh (Rly) 10:09.04s (NMR, old: 10:09.56, self, Kochi, 2010), 2. Lalita Babar (Rly) 10:33.40, 3. Kiran Tiwari (Har) 10:52.75.

100m hurdles: 1. G. Gayathry (TN) 13.70s, 2. J. Hemashree (LIC) 14.19, 3. M.M. Anchu (Rly) 14.31.

Pole vault: 1. Khyatri S. Vakharia (ONGC) 3.70m, 2. V.S. Surekha (Rly) 3.60, 3. Kiranbir Kaur (Pol) 3.50.

Triple jump: 1. M.A. Prajusha (Rly) 12.91s, 2. V. Neena (Rly) 12.76, 3. Mereena Joseph (Pol) 12.50.

Javelin: 1. Annu Rani (ONGC) 54.35m (NMR, old: 53.77m, Gurmeet Kaur, New Delhi, 2005), 2. Rupinder Kaur (Pol) 48.16, 3. S. Saraswathy (Rly) 48.07.

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