Renjith Maheswary hogs the limelight

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RECORD JUMP:Railways' Renjith Maheswary won the men's triple jump with a meet record of 16.97m.
RECORD JUMP:Railways' Renjith Maheswary won the men's triple jump with a meet record of 16.97m.

A. Vinod

Mediocre fare on opening day; Saranya does Tamil Nadu proud in pole vault

KOCHI: The opening day's fare at the 50th National Open athletic meet at the Maharaja's stadium on Saturday was a mediocre one save for a spark of brilliance by triple jumper Renjith Maheswary.

Given the fact that most of the top athletes were missing, Renjith's meet record-breaking effort of 16.97m came like a whiff of fresh air.

The lanky Railway star, who till date remains the only Indian to have crossed the 17m barrier, looked totally focussed on the job on hand as he took the lead with a first jump of 16.45m. The best from him came on his second attempt as he strode down the runway with terrific speed, got a superb hop and then translated these two factors into an amazing jump.

Second-best effort

It looked as if he had crossed the 17m mark initially, until the measurement was made public on the scoreboard. It was three centimetres shy of the expected mark, but it still erased his last year's meet record of 16.68m. For the record, this is his second-best effort — behind the National record of 17.04m in Guwahati — if one were to discount his 17.19m effort in Jordan. Renjith fouled on his two attempts before giving up.

“I had come prepared to jump somewhere close 16.80m today. But the opening jump made me realise that I could go further and thankfully I got just about everything right on my second try. With the Asian Grand Prix meets just around the corner, I thought it better not to push myself further when I fouled my third and fourth jumps. Yet, it is a satisfying day and I am quite happy with what I have achieved,” the Kerala-born athlete said.

Joseph wins 400m hurdles

The track saw just two events in the men's section — a poorly competed 5000m and a slightly better 400m hurdles. The 400m hurdles, as was expected, was won by National record holder Joseph G. Abraham, who looked to be in fine shape after having whizzed past the others midway through. But after the seventh hurdle Joseph seemed to pause for a moment before regaining his poise.

He then hit the 10th hurdle before hurtling down to the finish.

The two minor mistakes did cost the Railway star dear as he could only clock a time of 50.67s ahead of his teammates Satender Singh (50.99s) and Avin A. Thomas (51.02s).

Saurabh Vij (Delhi) was the other notable winner when he threw the shot put to a distance of 18.99m even in the face of little opposition.

Among women, none of the five winners caught the eye with Seema Antil holding on to her Fed Cup gold in Ranchi at 53.05m, 11 metres shy of her National record.

Lalit Babar won the 5000m, S. Saranya did Tamil Nadu proud in pole vault, Gunjan Singh took the hammer throw title and A.C. Ashwini won the 400m hurdles gold.

The results (all finals):

Men: 5000m: 1. Sunil Kumar (Pol) 14:21.33; 2. Sandeep Kumal (Rly) 14:21.49; 3. S. Raghunath (Pol), 14:21.65.

400m hurdles: 1. Joseph G. Abraham (Rly) 50.67s; 2. Satender Singh (Rly) 50.99s; 3. Avin A. Thomas (Rly) 51.02s. Triple jump: 1. Renjith Maheswary (Rly) 16.97m ( New Meet Record; Old: 16.68m, self, 2009); 2. Amarjeet Singh (Rly) 16.18m; 3. B. Baskar (TN) 15.91m. Shot put: 1. Sourabh Vij (Del) 18.99m; 2. Gurpreet Singh (Pun) 17.86m; 3. Satyender Singh (Rly) 17.57m.

Women: 5000m: 1. Lalita Babar (Rly) 17:25.61; 2. Jijimol Jacob (Ker) 17:49.46; 3. P.A. Vijayamala (Mah) 17:52.07.

400m hurdles: 1. A. C. Ashwini (Kar) 59.28s; 2. Pooja Jhakar (Rly) 1:00.39; 3. Shiji John (Rly) 1:01.44. Pole vault: 1. S. Saranya (TN), 3.30m; 2. K.P. Anusha (Ker) 3.20m; 3. Kyathi (Kar) 3.00m. Discus: 1. Seema Antil (Har) 53.05m; 2. Parwathi Sethi (Rly) 46.49m; 3. Amanpreet Kaur (Rly) 44.09m. Hammer: 1.Gunjan Singh (Rly) 52.68m; 2. Anitha Abraham (Ker) 52.54m; 3. Ushma D. Singh (Rly) 52.17m .

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