35th National Games: Renjith wins maiden gold, Preeja signs off with silver
Rajinder Singh smashed the national record in men's javelin throw, while former Asian champion Renjith Maheshwary nabbed his maiden gold with a new meet mark in triple jump as the athletics arena continued to enthrall on the penultimate day of the 35th National Games here on Thursday.
Thiruvananthapuram: Rajinder Singh smashed the national record in men's javelin throw, while former Asian champion Renjith Maheshwary nabbed his maiden gold with a new meet mark in triple jump as the athletics arena continued to enthrall on the penultimate day of the 35th National Games here on Thursday.
But what remained unchallenged was the Services Sports Control Board's (SSCB) domination on the medals table as they remained on top with a tally of 131 (81 gold, 23 silver and 27 bronze so far). Hosts Kerala displaced Haryana from the second spot owing to a strong athletics performance to total 119 (34 gold, 37 silver and 48 bronze). Haryana took the third spot with 33 gold, 37 silver and 22 bronze.
Amid a sea of meet records tumbling, a new national record was created when Haryana's Rajinder Singh cleared 82.23m to better the 80.72m mark of Anil Kumar Singh (2008). SSCB's Davinder Singh (75.34m) and Uttar Pradesh's Vipin Kasana (75.18m) were the respective silver and bronze medallists.
Elsewhere, veteran long-distance runner Preeja Sreedharan bid adieu to the track with a 10,000m silver even as another local lady O P Jaisha stole the limelight by collecting her second gold medal at the Games with a new meet record of 33:08.55sec. She had earlier won the 5000m gold with a meet record.
Sreedharan clocked 34:58.85sec in her final race egged on by an enthusiastic crowd at University Stadium. Maharashtra's Swati Gadhave had to be content with a bronze after finishing in 34:59.73sec.
Former Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Renjith got over the disappointment of disaqualification in men's long jump by shattering the meet record in triple jump for a gold medal. The 29-year-old, who won bronze medals in the past two National Games, cleared 16.66m to better the 16.62m record set by Arpinder Singh in the 2011 Games.
"I am very happy with how I performed and it has helped me put behind the bad memories of the last one year, especially the Arjuna awards controversy," Renjith said after the race, referring to the Arjuna award which was withdrawn from him owing to a doping suspension in the past.
"I am looking to resurrect myself. I was aiming to better the meet record and it is very satisfying to have done that," added the athlete who announced that he would retire after the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The silver went to defending champion Arpinder (16.41m), while the bronze was clinched by SSCB's Rakesh Babu (16.29m).
There was a massive upset in the men's 400m hurdles when former Asian Games gold-medallist and the national and meet record holder Joseph Abraham was disqualified for a false start, leading to the crowning of a new champion in SSCB's Durgesh Kumar much to the disappointment of home fans.
Durgesh could not breach the meet record but nabbed the top honours with a timing of 50.66sec. Another SSCB man, M Ramachandran took the silver after clocking 50.93sec, while the bronze was taken by Tamil Nadu's Binauaquito Thyagarajan (51.74sec).
Abraham's disqualification was a massive disappointment for hosts Kerala, who were banking on him for a sure-shot gold. But Anu Raghavan ensured that the capacity crowd had something to celebrate when she notched up the 400m women's hurdles gold medal. Anu clocked 58.63sec to finish ahead of Haryana's Santosh Kumari (59.63sec) and Kerala's VV Jisha (1:00.93sec).
The first track and field event of the day was the women's 100m hurdles and a new meet record was set when Tamil Nadu's G Gayathry completed the race ion 13.66sec to beat the previous mark of 13.81sec created by Anuradha Biswal in 2002. Karnataka's Meghna Shetty (13.89sec) and Tamil Nadu's Deepika (13.96) ended up being the silver and a bronze medal winners respectively.
The men's 110m hurdles meet record was also breached and it was hardly a surprise that it was SSCB's Siddhant Thingalaya who did the honours. Thingalaya, the reigning national champion and also the national record holder, clocked 13.83sec to beat the 14.10sec mark set by Gurpreet Singh in 2001.
"I was just looking to improve my technique and the fantastic weather here helped me perform better than what I expected," said Thingalaya.
The silver in this event went to Tamil Nadu through Surendar, who also bettered the previous mark with a timing of 13.98sec, while Telangana's Kuppusami Premkumar ended with a bronze after clocking 14.20sec.
SSCB stole the thunder from Kerala in the men's high jump competition as well when Jitin Thomas cleared a new meet record of 2.16m to snatch the gold medal from local favourite Sreenith Mohan, who had to settle for silver despite a matching effort as he took a higher number of attempts to get there. Punjab's Jagdeep Singh was third with an effort of 2.13m.
In other athletics events, SSCB dominated the men's hammer throw, notching up both the gold and silver through Niraj Kumar (64.62m) and Kaushal Singh (63.36m). Haryana's Sukhdev Singh ended up with the bronze after throwing the hammer to a distance of 63.13m.
There was a surprise in cycling's women's sprint elite race in which Asian medallist and pre-race favourite Deborah of Andaman and Nicobar had to be content with a silver after losing out on a top spot to Manipur's C H Rameshwori. Kerala's Lidiyamil M Sunny finished as the bronze-medallist.
The men's race was won by Punjab's Amarjith Singh, followed by the SSCB duo of Alan Baby and Manoj R L.
At Thrissur's boxing arena, the finalists were decided. In the women's 51kg semifinals, Haryana's Sonia set up a summit clash with Arunachal Pradesh's Tonibala Chanu after beating Kerala's Alphonosa Mariathomas 27-8. Chanu got the better of Uttarakhand's Krishna Thapa 24-12.
In the 60kg division, Manipur's Chaoba Devi triumphed over Jammu and Kashmir's Anju Bala 20-11 and will now face home favourite Maisnam Meenakumaridevi, who defeated Delhi's Geeta Solanki 13-9.
The 75kg final will feature Manipur's Memthoi Devi and Jharkhand's Aruna Mishra. While Memthoi trumped Arunachal's S Ibemcha Devi 30-27, Aruna hammered Andhra's Marthamma Sattivada 21-7.
The men's finalists were dominated by SSCB boys with Sandeep (52kg), Durgarao Vankala (56kg) and Amit Karki (69kg) enetring the summit clashes of their respective weight categories.
In Kochi, the badminton event eneterd its last stage and former national champion Sourabh Verma was among the finalists. Verma, representing Madhya Pradesh, edged past teammate Abhimany Singh 21-18 21-14 to make the finals, where he will face Haryana's Akshit Mahajan, who beat Madhya Pradesh's Sameer Verma 21-17 21-18.
Among the women, Telangana's Rituparna Das made the final after beating Mahashtra's Tanvi Lad.
In men's taekwando finals, Goa's Anand defeated SSCB's Vipin 11-3 to win the under-80 gold, while the under-58 top honours also went to SSCB after Santoba Singh sailed past Manipur's Vunga Raj 16-12.
In the women's competition, Kerala's Kerala's Margerette Maria beat Maharashtra's Aishwarya Ravade 11-6 to win the under-73 gold. The under-46 gold was picked up by Assam's Monica Paruah after beating Jharkhand's Prity Kumari 10-9.
In wushu, SSCB won the Taoulu (Daoshu) gold through Chirag Sharma, who logged 8.97 points, beating Manipur's H Dewan Singh (8.63 points) and Madhya Pradesh's Tarun Namdeo (8.11 points).
SSCB swept the 10,000m men's race with G Lakshman breaching the meet record by freezing the clock at 29:13.50sec, followed by teammates Kheta Ram (30:01.14sec) and Gopi T (30:15.03sec).
The men's 4x100m relay gold was clinched by Kerala (40.77sec), while SSCB (41.25sec) fetched the silver ahead of Madhya Pradesh (41.42sec).
The women's 4x100m gold also went in Kerala's kitty with a new meet record of 45.26sec, followed by Tamil Nadu (46.29sec) and Odisha (46.51sec).