Stan Rayan

Sahana takes high jump gold

Husband Nagaraj wins second gold

KOCHI: Despite the merciless sun being at its worst, Sahana Kumari rushed to the trackside fence and began jumping wildly. “That’s my hubby running,” she cried.

Her husband, B.G. Nagaraj, had just won the gold with the 4x100m relay team at the South Asian athletics championship on Saturday. “He was the fastest man here yesterday,” said Sahana, pride writ large on her beaming face.

And when the 27-year-old lady lined up for the high jump later, she was not short of inspiration. The Karnataka woman has been virtually dominating the national circuit after Kerala’s Bobby Aloysius left the country a few years ago and Tamil Nadu’s Sangeetha quit the circuit to concentrate on her engineering studies.

No hiccups

And with Sri Lankan Priyangika Madhumathi pushing her all the way, the 27-year-old found her groove. She opened at 1.69m and there was never a stutter as she cleared all her heights on first attempt. She comfortably cleared her personal best (1.82m at last year’s Open National in Jamshedpur) and then soared over 1.85m, also on her first try.

“That barrier is finally gone. Now, I can go higher, I said to myself after I did 1.85m,” said the South Western Railway senior clerk, who is coached by SAI’s G.V. Gaonkar.

Sahana has been working on a new wider runway. “I can lean more now and it has surely helped. It has made me more confident too,” she said.

Nearly there

She almost went past the meet record — Bobby Aloysius’ 1.86m — on her next try (1.87m).Priyangika also finished with 1.85m, breaking her own Sri Lankan National record, but had to be content with the silver for clearing 1.80 on her second try. Sahana is now confident of going over Bobby’s National record of 1.91m.

“It’s still off-season for me, but from Doha (Asian indoor championship where she won the bronze) to Kochi, we’ve already finished four meets. And when I get into serious business, I am sure I’ll get it. I’ve have to train more and more, try harder,” she said.

If she does 1.91 before July, she will also qualify for the Olympics. “I’m working on it,” she added.

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