Dutee eyes gold after breaking own National record

 Indian professional sprinter and current national champion Dutee Chand. (PTI Photo)

Star sprinter Dutee Chand smashed her own national record, clocking 11.22 seconds in the women's 100m semifinals on her way to the gold medal at the 59th National Open Athletics Championships here on Friday.

A fortnight after failing to reach 100m semis at the World Championships in Doha, the 23-year-old surpassed her previous timing of 11.26s which she had set at the Asian Championships in April this year.

While she had equalled Rachita Mistry's 11.26-second effort at the Asian Championship, Dutee's time of 11.22 seconds in the semifinals on Friday finally gave her the sole owner of the National record.

Dutee later clocked 11.25 seconds in the final to claim the gold, leaving Archana Suseendran and Himashree Roy in the wake.

At Doha, she had managed 11.48 to finish a disappointing seventh in her heats.

"A couple of days ago, I had the wrong belief that my body was tired at the end of the season. I recovered well to be able to break the last national mark twice this evening," Dutee said.

Her state-mate Amiya Kumar Malik, who has been struggling to find his rhythm the whole season, won the bragging rights as the fastest man in the National Open.

He won the men's 100m in 10.46 seconds, breaking the beam a hundredth of a second ahead of Malaysia's Jonathan AnakNyepa.

Gurindervir Singh (Punjab) emerged as the winner of the bronze medal by a margin of 0.0044 seconds from his team-mate Harjit Singh.

MP Jabir (AFI) rewrote the men's 400m hurdles meet record, winning the final in 49.41 seconds.

He improved on the mark of 49.67 seconds set by Ayyasamy Dharun (Tamil Nadu) last year.

Dharun himself, running only his third hurdles race since recovering from an injury, will be pleased that he clocked 49.50 seconds for the second place, leaving T Santhosh Kumar (Services) in the third place.

Earlier, in a close finish, Haryana's Rahul Rohilla, 23, won the men's 20m race walking ahead of the more seasoned K Ganapathi (AFI) and Sandeep Kumar (Services).

The Group B winner of the event in the National Race Walking Championship in Chennai in February, he finished on top of a better field this time.

There was some positive news for long jumper M Sreeshankar who leapt to 7.93m to lead the 12 qualifiers for the final.

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