Panocha sets national mark on way to 20th

Sushmitha Singha Roy gets off poor start in heptathlon

Panocha timed one hour 23 minutes and six seconds to erase his own record of 1::24:05 set at the Polish Championships on July 31 this year. That time had enabled him to qualify for the Berlin Championships.

The 31-year-old from Sabarkantha district of Gujarat had talked about winning a medal to give his country an Independence Day gift, but that was a far-fetched remark as his best was way off the leading times at the world level. But that did not matter on the day as he showed plenty of grit to fight his way back, after being left behind.

Gaining ground

Panocha was 33rd among 50 starters at the five-kilometre mark but the Indian steadily improved to be placed 29 at the half-way mark, timing 41:06. In the last five kilometres, he made up further ground for a creditable finish.

Russia’s Valeriy Borchin won the gold in one hour 18 minutes and 41 seconds.
Meanwhile, at the Olympic stadium, heptathlete Sush-mitha Singha Roy, struggling with an injury, made a poor start to her championships, performing way below her best.
After two events in the morning, Sushmitha occupied the 29th spot with 1661 points. Britain’s Jessica Ennis is the leader, having garnered 2661 points.

Sushmitha false-started in the first event, the 100M hurdles, and that immediately put her under pressure.

She was off slowly the second time and timed 14.55 against her best of 13.90. Looking lethargic, she managed only 1.62 in high jump, also well below her best of 1.77.
The 25-year-old from Bengal admitted things were not going her way.

‘A struggle’

“It’s a struggle. I had injured my hamstring during training in London and I have not recovered completely,” Sush-mitha said.

Sushmitha hasn’t really done well this season, with her best being 5366 points only.
She was selected with the future meets, especially the Commonwealth Games, in mind.
In the Olympic year, Sushmitha had tallied a career-best of 6027 points, a mark that helped her gain a Berlin berth.

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