: It was a photo finish, as Manikanand Raj pipped Balamurugan by four-hundredths of a second to clinch the 100m relay gold for Andhra Pradesh in the 17th Federation Cup athletics at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), here on Thursday.
It was a spectacular fight, and Balamurugan was unable to control the momentum and went somersaulting on the track after the finish. Manikanand celebrated as Andhra Pradesh clocked 41.06 and missed the meet mark by 0.11 seconds.
There was indeed a meet record, as Asian Games gold medallist Sudha Singh bettered her own mark with a time of 10 min, 13.83 sec in the women’s 3000m, winning by more than a 200m margin.
In fact, Sudha set such a hot pace from the onset that it looked like she may go under 10 minutes. In trying to keep close to Sudha, Priyanka Patel paid the penalty and retired early. Waheeda Rehman hung on to take silver ahead of Kiran Tiwari.
Jaiveer wins gold
In the men’s steeplechase, Naveen Kumar of Rajasthan had to be content with silver, despite leading for most of the race, as Haryana’s Jaiveer took gold by half a second.
The men’s long jump had to be postponed as it clashed with the hammer throw. But it proved to be a blessing in disguise, as 22-year-old Ankit Sharma of Madhya Pradesh came up with a series of good jumps to reach a personal best of 7.91m with his last effort.
The long-jumpers were distracted during their warm-up when a hammer rolled dangerously into the area. The staff, who were levelling the field, threw their shovel in disgust and walked away.
Coached by N.V. Nishad Kumar in Thiruvananthapuram, Ankit, an employee of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), looked to have lost his rhythm after early jumps of 7.59 and 7.84. He fouled twice, but returned with a jump of 7.83 on his fifth attempt.
He missed out on the meet and National record of 8.08 metres set by Amrit Pal Singh in 2004, but promised to improve upon his personal best soon. His previous best was 7.84 in a Kerala State competition.
In the women’s 100m relay, Chhattisgarh — represented by Niksy Joseph, Shilpa, P. K. Priya, S. Sini — sprang a surprise on ONGC and Kerala, as the diminutive Sini sailed through as the anchor, ahead of Dutee Chand.
The results :
Men: 3000m steeplechase : 1. Jaiveer 8:57.86; 2. Naveen Kumar 8:58.38; 3. Pritam Bind 9:00.24; 400m hurdles : 1. Satinder Singh 51.00; 2. Jitin Paul 51.54; 3. Mervin 52.07; Long jump : 1. Ankit Sharma 7.91; 2. M. Arshad 7.56; 3. Raja Ommen 7.36; Pole vault : 1. Parveen Kumar 4.80; 2. Binesh Jacob 4.70; 3. P. Balakrishna 4.70; Hammer : 1. P. Chandrodaya 65.88; 2. Kamalpreet Singh 63.98; 3. Kaushal Singh 61.37.
Javelin : 1. Vipin Kasana 75.80; 2. Davinder Singh 74.56; 3. Vijay 73.53; 4x100m relay : 1. Andhra Pradesh (Pavan Kumar, E. Gopi, Md. Baba, M. Manikanand Raj) 41.06; 2. Tamil Nadu (Silambarassan, Al Ameen, Vijaya Kumar, Balamurugan) 41.10; 3. Kerala (Anuroop John, Jeris Jose, Rahul Pillai, K.G. Renjth) 41.39.
Women: 3000m steeplechase : 1. Sudha Singh 10:13.83 ( NMR , old: 10:15.91); 2. Wahida Rehman 10:52.43; 3. Kiran Tiwari 11:06.24; 400m hurdles : 1. R. Elavarasi 1:00.10; 2. Anju Rani 1:01.92; 3. M.S. Darsana 1:02.31; 4x100m relay : 1. Chhattisgarh (Niksy Joseph, Shilpa, P.K. Priya, S. Sini) 47.40; 2. ONGC (Mounika Gaddam, Meghna Shetty, Purnima Hembram, Dutee Chand 47.78; 3. Kerala (Merlin Joseph, Neethu Mathew, Neethu Rajan, C.Renjitha) 48.24.