Olympic-bound Kiran Pahal steals show with her sheer pace to win gold at Inter-State Championships

The 23-year-old Kiran had surprised one and all as she breached the Olympics qualifying time of 50.95 seconds, clocking 50.92 seconds during the semifinals on Thursday.
Last Updated : 28 June 2024, 16:51 IST

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Panchkula: Olympic-bound Kiran Pahal of Haryana once again stole the limelight with her sheer pace as she won the women's 400m race gold in 50.92 seconds -- the same time with which she had qualified for the Paris Games in the semifinals -- on the second day of the National Inter-State Athletics Championships here on Friday.

The 23-year-old Kiran had surprised one and all as she breached the Olympics qualifying time of 50.95 seconds, clocking 50.92 seconds during the semifinals on Thursday.

On Friday, she led throughout the race and left second-placed Deepanshi (52.01), also from Haryana, at least five metres behind.

Andhra Pradesh's Jyothika Sri Danda, a key member of the women's 4x400m relay team that booked a Paris Games berth last month, was third in 52.11.

Promising middle-distance runner Parvej Khan of Haryana, who earlier this year became the first Indian to qualify for the final of a track event in the NCAA Championships of the United States, also lived up to the expectations as he won the men's 1500m gold with a time of 3 minute 42.95 seconds. The Olympics qualifying time of 3:33.50, though, was far away.

The 19-year-old Khan was behind one competitor at the bell for the last lap, but he sprinted his way from the final bend and punched the air in celebration after crossing the finish line.

"I wanted to qualify for the Olympics but could not achieve it. My season is almost over and next year, I will try do well in competitions like the Asian Championships, and then in the Asian Games (2026)," Khan, who belongs to a farming family in Mewat region of Haryana, said after his race.

"I was not running for better timing. You need better conditions and competitiveness to clock better time. I have already clocked my personal best of 3:36.21 (in Portland in USA earlier this month)."

Khan, who is currently studying at the University of Florida on scholarships, last competed in a domestic event at the 2023 National Inter-State Championships in Bhubaneswar in June.

"It is a nice feeling and a very good experience to compete in India, where I am competing in a national championships after one year."

Punjab's Gurindervir Singh became the fastest man of the championships as he won the 100m dash with a time of 10.32 seconds. Odisha's Animesh Kujur (10.46s) and Assam's Amaln Borgohain (10.49s) took the silver and bronze respectively in a field which had almost all the top short-sprint runners of the country.

The 23-year-old Gurindervir struggled the whole of last year as he could not come up with a podium finish in 2023.

"Many people had written me off saying I will not be able to make a comeback, I will come down below 10.50 seconds. But I am back now," Gurindervir said later.

"After the 2021 Inter-State Championships, I had some intestinal problem which affected my digestion. It took me two years to recover." He said after the Olympics, he will train at the Reliance Foundation in Bhubaneswar.

"They (Reliance) have called me to train there after the Olympics. So, I will join Reliance which also currently has Amlan Borgohain and Animesh Kujur. We will improve and that will be good for men's 4x400m relay also." SS Sneha of Karnataka emerged as the fastest woman of the championships as she clocked 11.62 seconds to win the women's 100m final.

However, national record holder in women's 1500m, KM Deeksha was pushed to the third spot with Lili Das of West Bengal winning the race in 4 minute 13.87 seconds while Delhi's Chanda was second in 4:14.85. Deeksha, who set the national record of 4:02.50 last month in the USA, clocked a disappointing 4:18.38.

The men's 400m final saw a photo finish between Muhammed Anas and Muhammed Ajmal. But Anas, who holds the national record of 45.21 second, won in 45.926 seconds, while Ajmal clocked 45.929s.

Abha Khatua of Maharashtra won gold in the women's shot put event with a mediocre throw of 17.63m to add to the Federation Cup title she had clinched last month. She had set a national record of 18.41m in the Federation Cup in Bhubaneswar.

Published 28 June 2024, 16:51 IST

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