Resurgent Renjith bags triple jump gold

Railway athlete sets new meet record; Joseph Abraham cruises to win in 400M hurdles

At the Maharaja’s College stadium on Saturday, the first day of the 50th Open National athletics championships, Renjith showed that he was back and booming. He had just two legal jumps but in that brief period, the 25-year-old obliterated his own meet record and walked away with the gold medal. He was, undoubtedly, the star of the day.

Holder of the national record at 17.04 metres, Renjith opened with a 16.45M effort. With his wife, pole vault ace Surekha – who is in the family way – cheering him on from the stands, the Railway jumper produced a superb 16.97M and leapt up from the sand in celebration. The meet record of 16.68, set last year, was gone for good.

Renjith fouled his next two jumps before passing his final two attempts. The gold was in safe custody by then, with Amarjeet Singh, his only challenger, not in top form and managing only 16.18 metres. Renjith had won the Asian gold in 2007 with a wind-aided 17.19M. Saturday’s was his second-best legal jump, with the wind reading 0.0m/s.

“I knew the gold was secure, that is why I didn’t take the final two jumps,” said an elated Renjith. “My target was 16.80 here. Having crossed that, I wanted to preserve myself for the Asian Grand Prix meets,” added Renjith, who is likely to train in Italy after the Asian Grand Prix meets next month.

Favourite Joseph Abraham was an easy winner in men’s 400M hurdles, timing 50.67. He hit the 10th hurdle and that dashed his hopes of a better timing, even though the effort bettered his 51.11 in the season-opening Federation Cup.

“The weather was really oppressive. Before the start, I thought it would be okay but it really hit us hard during the race,” said Abraham.

Abraham’s Railway team-mate Avin A Thomas was in second place till the eighth hurdle but he clipped that barrier, allowing another Railwayman, Satender Singh, to nose ahead for the silver in a personal best of 50.99. Udupi girl AC Ashwini won Karnataka’s first gold, making her maiden competitive 400M hurdles race a memorable one. The 22-year-old from Siddapur village timed 59.28 seconds and plans to stick to hurdles besides competing in her main event, the 400M flat.

Saurabh Vij improved upon his Ranchi show with an 18.99 in men’s shot put while Seema Antil’s 53.05 in discus, even making allowance for the sultry conditions, was a below-par effort.

Results: Men: 5000M: Sunil Kumar (Police) 14:21.33, 1; Sandeep Kumar (Railways) 14:21.49, 2; S Raghunath (Police) 14:21.65, 3.
400M hurdles: Joseph Abraham (Railways) 50.67 seconds, 1; Satender Singh (Railways) 50.99, 2; Avin A Thomas (Railways) 51.02, 3.

Triple jump: Renjith Maheswary (Railways) 16.97 metres (New Meet Record. Old: 16.68, Renjith, 2009), 1; Amarjeet Singh (Railways) 16.18, 2; B Baskar (Tamil Nadu) 15.91, 3.
Shot put: Saurabh Vij (Delhi) 18.99 metres, 1; Gurpreet Singh (Punjab) 17.86, 2; Satyender Singh (Railways) 17.57, 3.

Women: 5000M: Lalita Babar (Railways) 17:25.61, 1; Jijimol Jacob (Kerala) 17:49.46, 2; Vijayamala P A (Maharashtra) 17:52.07, 3.

400M hurdles: Ashwini A C (Karnataka) 59.28 seconds, 1; Pooja Jhakar (Railways) 1:00.39, 2; Shiji John (Railways) 1:01.44, 3.
Pole vault: S Saranya (Tamil Nadu) 3.30 metres, 1; Anusha K P (Kerala) 3.20, 2; Kyathi (Karnataka) 3.00, 3.

Discus throw: Seema Antil (Haryana) 53.05 metres, 1; Parwathi Sethi (Railways) 46.49, 2; Amanpreet Kaur (Railways) 44.09, 3.
Hammer throw: Gunjan Singh (Railways) 52.68 metres, 1; Anitha Abraham (Kerala) 52.54, 2; Ushma D Singh (Railways) 52.17, 3.

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