Kheta, Jaisha win in style

The opening day of the Federation Cup Athletics Championships 2014 witnessed a sizzling start as Kheta Ram from Rajasthan eclipsed the meet mark in the men's 5000M race with a superb 13:49.17 that erased Surender Singh’s seven-year-old record of 13:51.64.

In the women's 5000M, O P Jaisha defended her title clocking 15:54.21, the fastest time by an Indian woman this year. National record-holder Preeja Sreedharan of Kerala finished runner-up in 16:23.07 while the bronze medal went to Maharashtra’s Swati Gadhave (16:46.46).

In the men's 5000M race, ONGC runner Suresh Kumar (13:53.58) and Tamil Nadu’s G Lakshmanan (13:57.07) took the silver and bronze while defending champion Nitender Singh Rawat (Uttarakhand) ended up eighth. Both Kheta Ram and Suresh Kumar finished within the qualifying norm (13:54.11) fixed by the Athletics Federation of India for Asian Games selection.

Sahana Kumari won the high jump gold with a clearance of 1.80 metres.

National record-holder Tintu Luka, who is in the Asia-Pacific team for the IAAF Continental Cup at Moracco next month, skipped the qualifying round of the women’s 800M. Her Kerala teammate and training partner Jessy Joseph did not finish her race.

Long jumper Kumaravel Prem Kumar, who didn't have an impressive outing in the Lucknow Inter-State Championships and failed to enter the final, made it this time by leading the qualifiers with a leap of 7.42M.

Other notable qualifier from the morning session was Om Prakash Singh (shot put, 18.21M), just ahead of Universiade silver medalist Inderjeet Singh (18.10M).

The women’s 400m hurdles heats witnessed two athletes from Karnataka gearing up for a summit clash in the finals as M Arpitha clocked a personal best of 58.87 seconds to win the first heats and Ashwini Akkunji ran 58.45 seconds to win the next heat.

In the evening session, namesakes Manpreet Kaur (both from Punjab) clinched the first two spots in women’s shot put by heaving the 4 kg iron ball to 16.20M and 15.06M respectively.

Results: Men: 5000M: Kheta Ram (Rajasthan) 13:49.17 (NMR. Old: 13:51.64, Surender Singh, 2007), 1; Suresh Kumar (ONGC) 13:52.28, 2; Laxmanan (Tamil Nadu) 13:57.07, 3.
Women:5000M: O P Jaisha (Punjab) 15:54.21, 1; Preeja Sreedharan (Kerala) 16:23.07, 2; Swati Gadhave (Maharashtra) 16:46.46, 3. Shot put: Manpreet Kaur (Punjab) 16.20 metres, 1; Manpreet Kaur (Punjab) 15.06, 2; Navjeet Kaur (ONGC) 14.16, 3.

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