Abraham produces another classy show

Abraham produces another classy show

Athletics: Inter-State championship: Kerala hurdler erases meet record in 400 metres

At the Nehru stadium, Abraham ran unchallenged to a meet record in the 400M hurdles, dipping under 50 seconds again for the gold medal. On a sultry evening, Abraham’s 49.91 was easily the best performance, overshadowing personal best efforts by women long jumpers MA Prajusha and Reshmi Bose.

This season, Abraham has been chasing his own national record of 49.51 seconds set at the World Championships in Osaka in 2007. He came close with a 49.58-second effort in the Indian Grand Prix meet on the same track in May but since then, things haven’t gone according to plan.

On the day, Abraham made a determined charge, taking control early and cruising once past the fifth hurdle. But he clipped the second and sixth hurdles, which affected his momentum slightly. Avin A Thomas and P Shankar, expected to challenge Abraham, were nowhere in the picture as the Kerala athlete flashed past the finish. The time, though, wiped the joy off his face. “I was hoping to break the record here, but hitting those hurdles cost me. It is also difficult to run all alone,” said Abraham.

Avin, who has been improving steadily this season, set another personal best of 50.63 for the silver. He had started the season with a best of 51.4.

Prajusha and Reshmi renewed their rivalry with vigour in the long jump pit and at one point, it looked like the latter would run away with the gold. Reshmi truly threw down the gauntlet with a career-best 6.35M leap in the second round and Prajusha seemed to be struggling then. But gradually finding her rhythm, she uncorked a 6.36M leap in the fourth round to wrest the lead decisively. “I was feeling a bit tense initially as my technique wasn’t working well. But then I managed to regain my composure,” said Prajusha.

There was one other meet record on the evening, with Uttarakhand’s Surender Singh timing 13:51.31 to erase Kashinath Aswale’s mark of 13:54.24 from the books, while the women discus throwers proved to be a total disappointment. Harwant Kaur nailed the gold with a fourth-round throw of 58.71 metres while Krishna Poonia, the season’s leader, had to settle for silver with a 56.56M effort. Of concern was Seema Antil’s fourth place at 53.05. The Haryana thrower withdrew from the competition after three rounds, complaining of a back injury.

Karnataka had little joy on the opening day with the State athletes failing to come into the medals bracket. Shilpa Sunder was seventh in long jump with 5.69 metres while S B Akshaya finished eighth with 5.57. In the women’s 5000M, Thippava Sannakki finished fifth in 17:47.96.

Results: Men: 5000M: Surender Singh (Uttarakhand) 13:51.31 (New Meet Record. Old: 13:54.24), 1; Sandeep Karan Singh (Gujarat) 14:24.95, 2; Sunil Kumar (Haryana) 14:25.98, 3. 400M hurdles: Joseph Abraham (Kerala) 49.91S (NMR. Old: 50.22), 1; Avin A Thomas (Kerala) 50.63, 2; P Shankar (Andhra Pradesh) 51.89, 3. Pole vault: KP Bimin (Kerala) 4.90M, 1; Gajanan Upadhyay (Jharkhand) 4.70, 2; Bineesh Jacob (Kerala) 4.60, 3. Women: 5000M: Kavita Raut (Maharashtra) 16:09.61, 1; Jhuma Khatun (Bengal) 17:07.84, 2; Babar Lalita (Maharashtra) 17:29.72, 3. 400M hurdles: Harpreet Kaur (Jharkhand) 1:00.12, 1; E Prathiba (Tamil Nadu) 1:00.57, 2; Shiji John P (Kerala) 1:00.57, 3. Long jump: MA Prajusha (Kerala) 6.36M, 1; Reshmi Bose (Kerala) 6.35, 2; Shini A P (Kerala) 5.94, 3. Discus throw: Harwant Kaur (Punjab) 58.71M, 1; Krishna Poonia (Rajasthan) 56.53, 2; Saroj Sihag (Delhi) 53.11, 3.