The rest of the field faded away a little after the 1.50m mark but Kerala high jumper Gayathri Sivakumar, virtually the youngest of the lot at 12 years, went from strength to strength.
And as former men’s National record holder N. Annavi watched in wonder, Gayathri, who is coached by former Railway high jumper Manoj T. Thomas in Kochi, rose to 1.59m and broke the under-14 girls National record by a huge margin in the 25th National junior inter-zone athletics championship here on Tuesday.
Gayathri had jumped to a personal best 1.60m at the State meet a few weeks ago but her performance here on Tuesday will be the official National record.
“If she is properly trained, she will be another Bobby (Aloysius, the former women’s National record holder from Kerala),” said Annavi.
It was Jessy Joseph’s turn to hog the limelight in the afternoon. Despite being forced to run the under-18 girls’ 800m under a burning sun at 1.30 p.m., the 17-year-old who is coached by P.T. Usha effortlessly broke the eight-year-old official National record with a 2:08.67s timing.
Jessy has gone a lot faster. She came up with a stunning 2:06.82s while finishing fourth in the women’s section at the recent National Open in Ranchi and has plans to finish the year with a very impressive goal.
“My goal is to run something like 2:05 this year. We have the junior National coming up in Bangalore and the schools National after that, it should come in one of these,” said the young girl.
Meerut’s Parul Chaudhary set the day’s other National record while winning the under-20 girls 2000m steeplechase.
Tamil Nadu, which dominated the first two days of this three-day meet, comfortably won the overall honours while host Kerala finished runner-up.
The TN stars also walked away with the ‘best athlete’ award in five of the eight age groups while Kerala got only one, through Jessy.
The winners: Boys: Under-20: 200m: Augustine Yesudas (TN) 21.60s. 800m: Prem Kunj (Bih) 1:53.67s. 5000m: Albin Sunny (Ker) 15:19.78s. 3000m steeplechase: Nagraj (Mah) 9:39.23s. Triple jump: S.N. Mohammed Salahuddin (TN) 15.50m. Javelin throw: Parvinder Kumar (Har) 68.27m. Hammer throw: Devaspati Tripathi (MP) 56.58m.
Under-18: 200m: C.H. Sudhakar (AP) 22.22s. 800m: Mandeep Goyat (Mah) 1:52.53s. 3000m: Arjun Kumar (UP) 8:37.97s (MR, Old: 8:42.94). 1000m medley relay: Tamil Nadu 1:58.07s. 2000m steeplechase: Shijo Rajan (Ker) 6:13.33s.
Under-16: 200m: M.S. Arun (TN) 22.56s. 3000m: Sahil Thakran (Har) 9:12.66s. 1000m sprint relay: West Bengal 2:01.13s. 5000m walk: Eknath Shamhaji (Del) 25:14.48s. Triple jump: Mohammed Zuber (TB) 15.19m. High jump: Anil B. Sahoo (Mah) 1.90m.
Under-14: High jump: Sahanawaj II (Del) 1.79m.
Girls: Under-20: 200m: S. Archana (TN) 24.52s. 800m: Archana Adhav (Mah) 2:18.81s. 3000m: Preeti Lamba (Del) 10:16.29s. 4x400m medley relay: Kerala 4:00.68s. 2000m steeplechase: Parul (UP) 6:57.68s (NR, Old: 7:33.87). Javelin throw: C.K. Prajitha (Ker) 41.25m. Hammer throw: Nisha (Har) 46.21m.
Under-18: 200m: Manvir Kaur (Pun) 25.60s. 800m: Jessy Joseph (Ker) 2:08.67s (NR, Old: 2:08.96). 3000m: K.K. Vidhya (Ker) 10:26.31s. 1000m medley relay: Kerala 2:16.54s. 2000m steeplechase: Neha Singh (MP) 7:37.25s. 5000m walk: 1. K.T. Neena (Ker) 27:15.19s. Hammer throw: S. Srinithi (TN) 45.85m.
Under-16: 200m: Jisna Mathew (Ker) 25.49s. 3000m: P.R. Aleesha (Ker) 10:28.97s. 1000m medley relay: Kerala 2:20.81s.
Under-14: High jump: Gayathri Sivakumar (Ker) 1.59m (NR, Old: 1.52).
Best athletes: Boys: Augustine Yesudas (TN, under-20), A. Dharun (TN, under-18), Chandan Bauri (WB, under-16), R. Naveen (TN, under-14).
Girls: S. Archana (TN, under-20), Jessy Joseph (Ker, under-18), Tiasha Samadder (WB, under-16), S. Lithiya (TN, under-14).
Team championships: Boys: 1. TN (203.5), 2. Maharashtra (158). Girls: 1. Kerala (257), 2. TN (237).
Overall championship: 1. Tamil Nadu (440.5 pts), 2. Kerala (378).
Keywords: National junior athletics championship