Krishna Poonia made only one attempt as she was suffering from a groin injury, and could only manage a sub-50m distance. But even that was good enough for her to win gold in the discus throw on the final day of the Railways athletics championships at the Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.
Poonia managed a 49.26-metre heave in her only attempt, and then stepped aside, letting the rest of the field fight for silver.
That honour went to Parmila, who managed 48.15 metres.
The rest were left far behind, with some of the throws failing to clear even the safety net area.
Poonia’s throw was almost 15 metres off her best, and nine metres off the last edition, and yet there was no competition.
“We keep talking of a medal at the world level. But where will the medal winner come from if this is the level?” she asked after the event.
Poonia has been advised eight weeks of rest from throwing practice after she underwent an MRI and bone scan earlier in the day. She has been asked to concentrate on stretching and strengthening instead.
“I know many people do not take these competitions seriously, but even then these levels are ridiculous. How can we expect world-class athletes from here?” she asked.
Asian Games champion Joseph Abraham, participating in his first competition of the season after recovering from injury, retained his 400m hurdles title with a timing of 51.39 seconds.
It was far below his personal best, and his own meet record.
L. Surya also successfully defended her title in the women’s 5000m, clocking 17:09.22 — almost five seconds off her last year’s timing — pushing the national record holder Preeja Sreedharan to second spot, as O.P. Jaisha finished third.
Veteran Susmita Singha Roy proved she was still the best heptathlete in the country as she won the gold with a margin of 400 points.
In fact, the competition was reduced to a farce when the 800 metres, the final event of the heptathlon was run over a distance of only 100m before the athletes called it off!
“This is not allowed but when the participants have agreed among themselves to not continue, we cannot force them to run,” claimed a helpless official.
It was perhaps only a fitting end to the disappointing meet.
K. Prem Kumar and Merlyn K. Joseph were adjudged the ‘best athletes’ in the men’s and women’s sections, while Western Railways emerged the overall champion.
Women: 200m: 1. Asha Roy 24.17; 2. Merlyn K. Joseph 24.57; 3. Chavi Sherawat 24.67 800m: 1. Sushma Devi 2:08.33; 2. Jhuma Khatun 2:10.10; 3. Manisha Devi 2:16.87. 5,000m: 1. L Surya 17:09.22; 2. Preeja Sreedharan 17:10.32; 3. OP Jaisha 17:11.32 400m hurdles: 1. Vijayalakshmi 1:03.95; 2. K.A. Sonia 1:03.96; 3. Anita Nagareddy 1:06.11.
Long jump: 1. M.A. Prajusha 6.09; 2. Susan K. Joy 5.81; 3. Neena 5.78. Discus: 1. Krishna Poonia 49.26; 2. Parmila 48.15; 3. Santosh Kumari 41.18. Heptathlon: 1. Susmita Singha Roy 4290; 2. Niksy Joseph 3877; 3. Liksy Joseph 3847.
Men: 200m: 1. Manikanda Arumugam 21.41; 2. Ritesh Anand 22.02; 3. Neeraj Panwar 22.02. 800m: 1. Sajeesh Joseph 1:55.15; 2. Vikas Lathiyan 1:56.04; 3. Vipul Rana 1:57.14. 5,000m: 1. Arvind Kumar 14:37.89; 2. Sandeep Kumar 14:40.07; 3. Soji Mathew 14:50.80. 400m hurdles: 1. Joseph Abraham 51.39; 2. Jithin Paul 52.07; 3. Alvin Thomas 53.08.
High jump: 1. Nikhil Chittarasu 2.11; 2. Yoga Raj 2.09; 3. Kunwar Surjit Kumar Singh 2.06. Pole vault: 1. KP Bimin 5.00; 2. Balakrishna 4.80; 3. Bineesh Jacob 4.60.