Officials blame it on faulty clock; Ranjith Maheswary wins triple jump

It was a ‘world class’ time in the 5000 metres that caught the officials napping, and robbed a full race for the competitors, as the domestic athletics season opened with the Indian Grand Prix at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) here on Sunday.

The winner Kheta Ram knew that something was amiss when he stopped the timer in his watch at 13 minutes 15.32 seconds at the finish. For, it was too good a time, as may be gleaned from the fact that Britain’s Mo Farah had clocked 13:41.66 in winning the gold at the London Olympic Games.

The 26-year-old Kheta Ram, who trains at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre in Bangalore, said that he knew all along that the race was being run one lap short, as he was noting the time lap by lap. His personal best was more than a minute above what he clocked on Sunday. Trapped with a world class time, the officials wriggled out of the tight corner by declaring the three winners without giving them any time. The Chairman of the technical committee, P.K. Srivastava said that there was a drop in power for the clock midway through the race and it had perhaps resulted in the shortened time.

“There is nothing to worry, about not getting the National record. It was an equal race, and I am glad that I won,” said Kheta Ram, as he beat fellow trainees, V.L. Dangi and Suresh Kumar Patil at the finish, after Arjun Pradhan had done all the hard work of leading for the most part. For the record, Bahadur Prasad had clocked the National record of 13:29.70 in Birmingham in 1992.

Elsewhere, Renjith Maheswary who had failed to register a mark in the Olympics, won the men’s triple jump with a fourth attempt of 16.67 metres, as against his own national record of 17.07. “Considering that it is just a start, am happy,” said Renjith who had jumped 16.72 in Chennai in September last year. Army’s Arokia Rajiv, who is based in Tiruchirapalli, clocked 47.55 seconds in winning the men’s 400 metres, as he beat the more seasoned S. K. Mortaja and Kunhi Mohammed. He said that the time could have been better but for three false starts in his race. Having clocked better timings earlier, the 21-year-old said that he was working towards bettering K.M. Binu’s National record of 45.48 set in the Athens Games in 2004.

With star athlete A.C. Ashwini, who is serving a suspension, watching race, Anju Thomas of Kerala Police outclassed the rest of the pack with a time of 55.03 seconds to win the women’s 400m.

Coach N. Ramesh said that the girls were focused in running the first 200 strong and felt that the overall time could have been better.

The towering T. Bala Murugan of the Southern Railways sprang a surprise on Shameer Mon of the Services as he won the 100 metres at 10.80.

The results: Men: 100m: 1. T. Bala Murugan 10.80; 2. Shameer Mon 10.86; 3. Al Ammeen 10.97. 400m: 1. S. Arokia Rajiv 47.55; 2. S.K. Mortaja 47.83; 3. Kunhi Mohammad 47.93. 800m: 1. Manjit Singh 1:50.1; 2. Parnjal Gogol 1:50.3; 3. Girish Ramachandran 1:50.7. 5000m: 1. Kheta Ram; 2. V. L. Dangi, 3. Suresh Kumar Patil. 400m hurdles: 1. Jithin Paul 52.48; 2. Bindu Aquitto C. 53.64. Long jump: 1. M. Arshad 7.36; 2. R. S. Bijil 7.08; 3. V.B. Raneesh 6.63. Triple jump: 1. Ranjith Maheswary 16.67; 2. Arpinder Singh 15.92; 3. Saurabh 15.76. Shot put: 1. Om Prakash 18.12; 2. Jasdeep Singh 17.48; 3. Satyender Singh 17.20. Javelin throw: 1. Devender Singh 74.55; 2. Samarjit Singh 73.67; 3. Dinesh Kumar 68.96.

Women: 100m: 1. Merlin K. Joseph 11.95; 2. Asha Roy 11.98; 3. Sini S. 12.13. 400m: 1. Anju Thomas 55.03; 2. A. Papathi 55.71; 3. Priyanka Mondal 55.92. 800m: 1. M. Gomathi 2:11.5; 2. Fulan Khatun 2:14.2. Triple jump: 1. Amitha Baby 12.47; 2. V. Neena 12.41; 3. Mereena Joseph 12.39.