Reena, Khyathi clinch gold

Reena, Khyathi clinch gold

Fruitful day for Karnataka as the duo put on sterling performances

Reena, Khyathi clinch gold

Karnataka had twin reasons to rejoice on a rainy Thursday at the GMC Balayogi Stadium, with Khyathi Vakharia and Reena George fetching the State their first two gold medals of the 56th Inter-State Athletics Championships.

Khyathi, making a comeback after an injury-induced break, soared to success in the women’s pole vault. A little later, as the rain began to intensify, Reena George outclassed the women’s 100M field, notching up her first title in the senior ranks.

The weather is always a worry for the pole-vaulters and a sharp spell of rain at the start of the evening’s programme held them up for a while.

As the weather eased a bit, Khyathi suffered a mighty scare as she fouled her first two attempts at her opening height of 3.50 metres.

Composing herself, she cleared the height on the third try and from then on there was no looking back for the vaulting doctor from Bangalore.

Her challengers had packed their bags at 3.40M itself but in her solo pursuit, Khyathi went past 3.80M before fouling all her attempts at 3.90.

“It doesn’t matter, I had made some technical changes and I am happy that I was able to execute them,” said Khyathi, who was laid low by a knee injury last season. Training with Dan Pfaff at John Godina’s Altis World at Phoenix, Arizona, Khyathi said she was hopeful of doing better. “Heights will come when the technique is right,” she said.

Mysurean Reena brooked no challenge in the 100M. She wrested control early and never loosened her grip, romping home in 11.99 seconds.

Tamil Nadu’s Archana (12.15) and Maharashtrian Rucha Patil (12.30) were left well back as Reena blazed past the finish line.

A 400M runner in her junior ranks, the 22-year-old was delighted with her effort. “It feels nice to win your first senior title, that too in the 100 metres,” said the Forest Department employee.As rain swept the stadium, Shameermon N A edged ahead at the finish to claim the men’s 100 metres.  The 32-year-old Shameer, competing for Manipur here, overcame a slow start to time 10.60 seconds, nosing ahead of Telangana’s Abdul Najeeb Qureshi (10.63) and Aniruddha Gujar (10.66) of Maharashtra.

In a four-women field, Kerala’s Shilpa Chacko won the triple jump gold with a 13.22M effort. Karnataka’s Joyline Lobo was fourth with 12.61.

Second chance
Meanwhile, the Athletics Federation of India has managed to get an entry for 800M runner Jinson Johnson at a competition in Belgium on July 9, giving him an opportunity to go for the Olympic qualifying mark.

Also, six women 400M runners, barring M R Poovamma, Anilda Thomas, Tintu Luka and Jisna Mathew, will run a B race after the 400M final on Friday as AFI attempts to finalise the relay squad.

In the first-round on Thursday, Haryana’s Nirmala Sheoran, who was part of the relay team in 2013, came into the picture with a surprise 52.35, the second best Indian timing this season behind Poovamma’s 52.31.

The AFI is also planning another competition on July 9 and 10 to give Rio aspirants another chance. Bangalore is a likely venue but the lack of a good track is a worry. The Sree Kanteerava stadium track is in poor shape while athletes had raised concerns about the newly-laid track at the Sports Authority of India as  well.

Results: Men: 100M: Shameermon N A (Manipur) 10.60 seconds, 1; Abdul Najeeb Qureshi (Telangana) 10.63, 2; Aniruddha Gujar (Maharashtra) 10.66, 3.

110M hurdles: D Sreekanth (Kerala) 14.54 seconds, 1; K Prem Kumar (Telangana) 14.60, 2; Akshay R (Kerala) 15.29, 3.

20km walk: Babubhai Panucha (Gujarat) 1:31:26.00, 1; Sagar Joshi (Gujarat) 1:31:30.00, 2; Gaurav Kumar (Manipur) 1:31:39.00, 3.

Women: 100M: Reena George (Karnataka) 11.99 seconds, 1; Archana (Tamil Nadu) 12.15, 2; Rucha Patil (Maharashtra) 12.30, 3.

100M hurdles: Sugina M (Kerala) 14.17 seconds, 1; Dhanalakshmi (Tamil Nadu) 14.28, 2; Keerthana (Tamil Nadu) 14.33, 3.

Triple jump: Shilpa Chacko (Kerala) 13.22 metres, 1; Jenimol Joy (Gujarat) 12.97, 2; Karthika (Tamil Nadu) 12.75, 3.

Pole vault: Khyathi Vakharia (Karnataka) 3.80 metres, 1; Kiranbir Kaur (Punjab) 3.40, 2; Sinju Prakash M K (Kerala) 3.40, 3.

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