Mayookha in title round

Long jumper eyes top-eight finish; Harwant disappoints in discus

Anju George had hoisted India’s name with a bronze in this event at Paris in 2003 and made her last appearance at Osaka, finishing ninth in 2007. Many of Anju’s rivals of that season were again in the pit this time even as Mayookha claimed her berth in the final with a 6.53-metre leap at the Daegu Stadium.

Mayookha was tenth overall among 35 contenders across two groups on a day when all the jumpers struggled to find their form. Only five -- Brazilian Olympic champion Maurren Higa Maggi (6.86), Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova (Belarus, 6.80), American Brittney Reese (6.79), Russian glamour girl Darya Klishina (6.77) and Portuguese Naide Gomes (6.76) -- crossed the automatic qualifying standard of 6.75.

With the top 12 qualifying in such a case, Mayookha had to wait and watch as other jumpers finished their rounds. Tension gave away to joy as the results were flashed on the screen, with the Indian champion squeaking into the list.

“I am really happy to have made it. Now I want to finish in the top-8 tomorrow,” said Mayookha, who started with a 6.52M leap before fouling her next attempt. She rounded off her day with the 6.53 in the third round.

The 23-year-old was a shade disappointed that she couldn’t do her best on the day. “The third jump looked big but it didn’t register that much,” said Mayookha, sporting a new look after trimming her hair short. “The coach (Syam Kumar) ordered me to do so after I missed out on a big mark at the Inter-State meet in Bangalore, with my hair touching the sand.”

Earlier, Harwant Kaur made a quick exit from the discus throw competition earlier in the day. The Commonwealth Games silver medallist ended up 21st overall with a 56.49M effort and had no excuses to offer.

“The aim was to do my season’s best,” said Harwant, who has a best of 58.78 this season. “But it just didn’t work for me today. I went all out in the final throw and my technique went awry.” Harwant had a series of 55.50, 56.49 and 52.98 in her three throws on the day.

Long jump final qualifiers: Maurren Higa Maggi (Brazil) 6.86M; Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova (Belarus) 6.80; Brittney Reese (USA), 6.79; Darya Klishina (Russia) 6.77; Naide Gomes (Portugal) 6.76; Funmi Jimoh (USA) 6.68; Olga Kucherenko (Russia) 6.67; Carolina Kluft (Sweden) 6.60; Ineta Radevica (Latvia) 6.59; Mayookha Johny (India) 6.53; Karin Mey Melis (Turkey) 6.52; Janay Deloach (USA) 6.51.

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