Johnson lights up damp day

Johnson lights up damp day

Keralite wins men's 800M event but misses Rio berth narrowly

Johnson lights up damp day

With a sparkling run, Jinson Johnson injected some life into the programme on a damp second day of the 56th Inter-State Athletics Championships at the GMC Balayogi Stadium here on Tuesday.

Lacklustre performances amidst an intermittent drizzle failed to generate excitement before Johnson stepped on to the track for the final of the men’s 800M. In two pacy laps, he not only clobbered the field for the gold, but came very close to meeting the Olympic norm.

Johnson’s 1:46.43, his career-best, was the third best all-time performance by an Indian, after Sriram Singh’s 1:45.77 in 1976 and Pankaj Dimri’s 1:46.26 in 2010. The Olympic qualification standard stood at 1:46.00, and Johnson was understandably disappointed despite emerging as the star of the night.

“Gold was not my goal, I have won plenty of gold before. Meeting the qualifying standard was my target,” said the Army man from Kerala. Johnson’s previous best was 1:47.56 timed at the Federation Cup this year in New Delhi.

The rangy 25-year-old ran a quick first lap, perhaps a bit too quick, following the pacer who dropped out after 450 metres. Sajeesh Joseph was expected to push Johnson but he too dropped out due to knee pain and Johnson had to run a solo race to the finish. Punjab’s Manjit Singh claimed the silver in 1:48.61 and Karnataka’s K A Bharath took the third place in 1:50.10.

“Had someone been there to challenge me, I could have met the standard today,” said Johnson while his coach Kunhi Mohammed felt a fast first 200 metres had hampered his ward. With very little time left for the qualification period to end – July 11 is the deadline -- efforts are on to send Johnson abroad -- most likely Thailand -- so that he gets another crack at his target.

Inderjeet Singh, the king of the shot put circle, too returned to action after the Federation Cup back in April and he too returned disappointed, unable to come close to his best. The conditions were tough but still, Inderjeet’s winning distance of 19.28 metres was mediocre by his standards. 

“The circle was slow and the drizzle also did not help,” said Inderjeet, who qualified for Rio with a big 20.65M effort at last year’s Federation Cup. “I too would have been happier with a 20-plus effort. I think I have put on weight and also over-trained a bit. I have work to do, I would request the federation to arrange for me a couple of competitions before Rio,” he said.

Tejinderpal Singh, who had upset Inderjeet at the Federation Cup with a 19.93M effort, was second with 19.21M. Former Asian champion and national record holder Om Prakash Singh couldn’t touch 19 metres and ended fourth with 18.39M.

The wet and cold weather seemed to bother the triple jumpers as they struggled to get going. Renjith Maheswary, eyeing the Rio standard of 16.85 metres, fell short with a jump of 16.56 metres while national record holder Arpinder Singh, struggling with his technique, was fifth with 15.98 metres.

DH News Service
Results: Men: 800M: Jinson Johnson (Kerala) 1:46.43, 1; Manjit Singh (Punjab) 1:48.61, 2; K A Bharath (Karnataka) 1:50.10, 3.

3000M steeplechase: Naveen (Haryana) 8:44.33, 1; Ramesh Kumar Bishnoi (Maharashtra) 8:56.17, 2; Karamvir (Haryana) 9:00.79, 3.

Triple jump: Renjith Maheswary (Kerala) 16.56 metres, 1; Rakesh Babu A V (Kerala) 16.20, 2; Bheeshm Singh (Manipur) 16.16, 3.

Pole vault: S Siva (Tamil Nadu) 4.90 metres, 1; Parveen Kumar (Punjab) 4.80, 2; Bimin K P (Kerala) 4.70, 3.

Shot put: Inderjeet Singh (Haryana) 19.28 metres, 1; Tejinderpal Singh (Punjab) 19.21, 2; Jasdeep Singh (Punjab) 18.48, 3.

Hammer throw: Neeraj Kumar (Rajasthan) 70.73 metres, 1; Kaushal Singh (Uttar Pradesh) 65.16, 2; Ranjeet Singh (Bihar) 62.01, 3.

Decathlon: Ankit Saini (Haryana) 6807 points, 1; Daya Ram (Rajasthan) 6669, 2; Narender (Haryana) 6637, 3.

Women: 800M: Gomathi (Tamil Nadu) 2:06.28, 1; Sini A Markose (Kerala) 2:07.61, 2; Archana Adhav (Maharashtra) 2:08.44, 3.

400M hurdles: Purnima Hembram (Odisha) 59.27 seconds, 1; Ayana Thomas (Delhi) 59.63, 2; Aarthi (Tamil Nadu) 1:00.60, 3.

3000M steeplechase: Parul Chaudhary (Uttar Pradesh) 10:46.92, 1; Nandini Gupta (Uttar Pradesh) 11:08.92, 2; Angel James (Kerala) 11:13.21, 3.

20km walk: Soumya B (Delhi) 1:42:55.24, 1; Priyanka (Uttar Pradesh) 1:45:43.60, 2; Rani Yadav (Uttar Pradesh) 1:49:19.75, 3.

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