Consistency has always been the password behind the many successes of P.U. Chitra through the last three years.
On Wednesday at the University stadium here, it was no different as the pint-sized athlete of H.S. Mundur, Palakkad, grabbed attention yet again.
The 17-year-old, Chitra who had won the 3000m senior girls on the opening day added the 5000m title on Wednesday to complete a golden double to emerge as the star performer of the second day in the four-day event.
She could be in the headlines through the next two days as well as Chitra has two more events – the 1500m and the 3km-cross country – to compete.
Having led the pack almost from the word go, Chitra, however, sounded a tad disappointed for having failed to crack the existing meet mark in the 12-and-a-half lap race.
“It is extremely satisfying to have won the 5000m today. But I would have been a lot happier had I been able to go under the meet record of 17:28.99.
“I was well on course through the first 3km to better the record, but suddenly was overcome by a knot in my stomach.
“I had to slow down considerably after that and lost the chance to get into the record books. It was a hard decision to make but was forced to do so as I have two more events to go through the next two days.”
Chitra’s coach N.S. Sijin too was visibly disappointed on his ward losing the opportunity to go under the existing meet mark but put up a brave front.
“Yes, it would have been good if Chitra was able to get to a new record time. However, none can deny that it was a brave effort as she seemed to be in considerable pain soon after the half-way mark.
“This never-say-die spirit in her is what makes Chitra such a solid competitor. I am sure that she would do well in her remaining two events and come up with excellent performances,” he said.
Chitra had come into the reckoning three years ago, making her bow in the meet in 2009 at Thiruvalla.
Over there she had won the 3000m gold medal prior to finishing second in the 1500m of the juniors section.
In 2010 here, she was the centre of attraction winning the gold medals in the 1500m, 3000m and 5000m before coming up with a repeat show in that year’s National schools championships.
Moving over to the senior section last year in Kochi, Chitra won the 3000 and 1500m before a muscle injury stopped her from competing in the 5000m.
And in the Nationals thereafter it was a gold and silver for this gritty girl who continues to soldier on gallantly.
Chitra is only half way through her campaign here and a repeat show of the first two days on Thursday and Friday could easily make her the best performer of the current meet.