Dutee Chand fastest woman; Aniruddha Gujar takes men’s sprint title

Merlin K. Joseph of Railways bettered the women’s 100m National record in the semifinals by clocking 11.35s in the 53rd Open National athletics championship at the Birsa Munda Athletic Stadium on Sunday. Her ecstasy was, however, short-lived as she had to finish third in the final with a time of 11.95s.

The existing record of 11.38s stood in the name of Rachita Mistry of Maharashtra set in 2000 at Thiruvananthapuram. Young Dutee Chand of ONGC won gold clocking 11.73s to emerge the fastest woman of the championship.

Aniruddha Gujar of LIC took the men’s sprint title with a time of 10.46 thus adding this to the inter-State crown.

Much was expected of Merlin in the final but Dutee proved to be better on the day with a clean lead with 30m to go. H.M. Jyothi of Karnataka (11.87) followed her to the finish line as Merlin (11.95) struggled to get a podium finish.

On a day marked by intermittent rain, both the 800m defending champions, Tintu Luka and Sajeesh Joseph, from Railways, retained the title with a commanding run. Sajeesh held off a stiff challenge from Manjit Singh of ONGC with 40m to go to clock 1:49.50. Manjit, who had the season’s best time of 1:48.48 at the Federation Cup, timed 1:49.51.

More than Tintu, it was her coach P.T. Usha who looked happy as her ward clocked season’s best of 2:01.87. Tinku’s previous best was 2:03.61 timed at the Shanghai Diamond league in May. The 17-year-old Jessy Joseph of Kerala, another of Usha’s ward, was fourth in 2:06.82 which was also her season’s best.

A lot was expected from long jumper K. Prem Kumar. The Railway athlete, who touched 8.09m at the inter-Railway meet at New Delhi recently, pulled out owing to right hamstring problem. Ankit touched 7.73m in his first attempt to take the gold. Prem Kumar (7.62) picked up a silver.

Decathlete Daya Ram of Services and 20km race walk champion Khushbir Kaur retained the titles without any challenge. Om Prakash Singh of ONGC relegated the defending champion Jasdeep Singh to bronze place and season’s best thrower Indrajeet Singh to silver position with a heave of 18.67m.

The results: Men: 100m: 1. Aniruddha Gujar (LIC) 10.46s, 2. S. Sathya (TN) 10.66, 3. Abdul Najeeb Qureshi (ONGC) 10.67; 800m: 1. Sajeesh Joseph (Rly) 1:49.50s, 2. Manjit Singh (ONGC) 1:49.51, 3. Jinson Johnson (Ser) 1:50.26; Long jump: 1. Ankit Sharma (LIC) 7.73m, 2. K. Prem Kumar (Rly) 7.62, 3. Raja Oomman (Ker) 7.37.

Shot put: 1. Om Prakash Singh (ONGC) 18.67m, 2. Indrajeet Singh (Har) 18.58, 3. Jasdeep Singh (ONGC) 17.97; Javelin: 1. Ravinder Singh (Chd) 75.47m, 2. Dinesh Kr. Rao (Raj) 74.62, 3. Rajendra Singh (Rly) 72.88; Decathlon: 1. Daya Ram (Ser) 6812 points, 2. V.V. Raneesh (Rly) 6742, 3. Ajay Yadav (Ser) 6576.

Women: 1. Dutee Chand (ONGC) 11.73s, 2. H.M. Jyothi (Kar) 11.87, 3. Merlin K. Joseph (Rly) 11.95; 800m: 1. Tintu Luka (Rly) 2:01.87s, 2. Sushma Devi (Rly) 2:03.11, 3. Sini A. Markose (ONGC) 2:03.51; High jump: 1. Reena (Pol) 1.70m, 2. N.K. Siji (Rly) 1.65, 3. Mallika Mondal (Rly) 1.65; 20km walk: 1. Khushbir Kaur (ONGC) 1:45:21.47s, 2. Ranjana Gupta (Pol) 1:48:00.10, 3. Rani Yadav (Rly) 1:52:36.37.

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