Mayookha leaps to long jump gold

India claim five gold on first day, Lankans Eashan, Rumeshikha emerge fastest

Mayookha leaps to long jump gold

Long-jumper Mayookha Johny expectedly won her pet event but it was the Sri Lankans who rejoiced more on the opening day of the athletics competition at the 12th South Asian Games here on Tuesday.

Determined to show the decent strides they have made over the last four years, the Sri Lankans won four gold medals — one less than India. However, they took home the bragging rights for the fastest male and female athlete of the Games with Himasha Eashan and Rumeshikha Rathnayaka triumphing in fine fashion on a cold night at the Indira Gandhi Stadium.

Apart from Mayookha, India’s other goldies on the opening day were Man Singh (men’s 5000M), Neeraj Kumar (men’s hammer throw), L Surya (women’s 5000M) and Manpreet Kaur Sr (women’s shot put).

Eashan was the pre-race favourite in the 100M and the strapping athlete didn’t disappoint one bit. He was off the blocks in fine fashion, leading the race at the halfway mark. Having gotten the start that he wanted, Eashan then powered home in 10.28 seconds, ahead of Maldives’ Saaid Hassan (10.41) and compatriot Alm Ashrafu (10.69).

“I’m really happy to have won the gold medal today,” said a delighted Eashan. “More than the gold, what gives me joy is that I achieved my personal best time. This gold gives me a lot of confidence.”

While the men’s race was a lop-sided one, the women’s 100M saw a stiff fight between Rathnayaka and India’s Srabani Nanda and Dutee Chand. Shrabani was off her blocks first but hardly anything separated the three medal winners at the 50-metre mark.

All three gave it their all but it was Rathnayaka who found the will during the finishing stages. She dipped first at the finish line with a timing of 11.71 seconds, just 0.01 ahead of silver medallist Srabani and 0.04 ahead of Dutee.

Mayookha started her quest for gold with an opening jump of 6.34 metres, which was well ahead of silver medallist Shradha Ghule (6.19), also of India. Knowing that gold was her in her kitty with a decent opening effort, Mayookha leapt to 6.25 in her second attempt, followed by a foul, 6.15 and a 6.22. She then sealed victory with an effort of 6.43.
DH News Service

Results: 100M: Himasha Eashan (SL) 10.28 seconds, 1; Saaid Hassan (Mdv) 10.41, 2; Alm Ashrafu (SL) 10.69, 3.

5000M: Man Singh (Ind) 14:02.04, 1; Suresh Kumar (Ind) 14:02.70, 2; Rimal Hari Kumar (Nep) 14:32.18, 3.

High jump: Manjula Kumara (SL) 2.17 metres, 1; Tejaswin Shankar (Ind) 2.17, 2; Ajay Kumar (Ind) 2.08, 3.

Hammer throw: Neeraj Kumar (Ind) 66.14, 1; Shakeel Ahmed (Pak) 63.67, 2; LADE Alansan (SL) 46.38, 3.

Women: 100M: Rumeshikha Rathnayaka (SL) 11.71, 1; Srabani Nanda (Ind) 11.72, 2; Dutee Chand (Ind) 11.75, 3.

800M: Liyanaarachchi Nimali (SL) 2:09.40, 1; GTA Abeyrathna (SL) 2:09.64, 2; Gomathi M (Ind) 2:10.99, 3. 5000M: L Surya (Ind) 15:45.75, 1; Swati Gadhave (Ind) 16:14.57, 2; UKN Rathnayaka (SL) 17:00.85, 3.

Shot put: Manpreet Kaur Sr (Ind) 17.94, 1; Manpreet Kaur Jr (Ind) 15.94, 2; WTK Fernando (SL) 14.87, 3.

Long jump: Mayookha Jhony (Ind) 6.43, 1; SLS Silva (SL) 6.19, 2; NCD Priyadarshini (SL) 5.89, 3.

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