Sudha Singh bettered her own National record in the 3000m steeplechase and, in the process, booked her place for the London Olympic Games at the Iberoamericano international athletic meet at Huelva, Spain, on Thursday.
Twenty-five-year-old Sudha clocked 9:47.70 as against the Olympic ‘B’ qualification standard of 9:48.00 while coming 11th in the meet, according to information received from the Athletics Federation of India (AFI). Her previous National record, at the Shanghai Diamond League meet on May 19 last, was 9:49.25.
Ethiopian Etenesh Neda won the event in 9:21.54 and was followed by the 2009 World champion Marta Dominguez of Spain in 9:24.26. Kenyan Purity Kirui took the third place in 9:35.61 in a field of 22 runners.
In an event which made its Asian Games debut only in 2010, Sudha had won in Guangzhou in 9:55.67, then a National record. Since October, 2007 the Railway athlete who hails from Rae Bareilly, UP, has bettered the National record seven times including the latest effort.
In between, there was one instance in 2010, when Sudha had to give way to O. P. Jaisha as the National record holder as the latter clocked 10:03.05 in the inter-State meet at Patiala in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games.
Sudha finished fifth in the Commonwealth Games (9:57.63) before putting up a great show in Guangzhou to swell India’s gold collection.
Despite making the Olympic grade and joining 12 other Indian athletes ahead of her, Sudha will have to work really hard in the coming weeks to be hopeful of crossing the first round. She is in the top-50 lists for the season with her latest mark.
Mayookha Johny, one of the qualifiers for Olympics (triple jump), still struggling to find her form in long jump because of technical corrections being effected under the guidance of German coach Jorge Ramlow, jumped her season best of 6.60m at a meet in Rhede, Germany on Thursday. She was still five centimeters short of the Olympic standard.
Mayookha who is looking at long jump as her Olympic event, had two other legal jumps of 6.55 and 6.50. Her previous best this season was 6.50.
Shot putter Om Prakash Singh, who has qualified for the Olympics, continued his good run for the season with efforts of 20.04m at Szombathely, Hungary (June 6) and 19.82m in Vienna (May 29).
From the information gathered so far, Om Prakash happened to be the lone competitor at Szombathely while in Vienna, Martin Schiller, a 35-year-old Austrian, came second with 12.57.