Day 1 belongs to distance runners, Kheta Ram win 500m race

Patiala: Uttarakhand`s Nitender Singh pipped pre-race favourite Kheta Ram of Rajasthan at the post to win the men`s 500-metre race at the 17th Federation Cup senior athletics championships, which started on Tuesday at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports grounds here.

Kheta Ram took 13 mins 55.28 secs to complete the run.

The Rajasthani was just one-tenth-of-a-second behind for the silver medallist while Mohd. Yunus from Maharashtra and ONGC runner Suresh Kumar were third and fourth, clocking 13:55.62 and 13:56.53 respectively.

The top-four finishers running under 14-minutes in a national event thus showed the intensity of competition and rivalry between the athletes. In recent times only Surendra Singh clocked two sub-14 mins timings in 2009 in India prior to today`s race at the Inter-State and Open Nationals.

27-year-old Asian Games silver medallist, Kavita Raut, representing ONGC, was an easy winner in the 10000m event, completing the run in 35:30.21.

Three other runners from Kavita`s home state Maharashtra, Lalita Babar (35:35.08), Monika Athare (35:44.80) and Manisha Salunkhe (36:05.16), finished in that order behind the winner.

110m hurdles record-holder Siddanth Thingalaya pushed the much-fancied Sameer Mon and Manikanda Raj to become the fastest man of the meet with a timing of 10.55 secs.

Kerala girl Merlin K Joseph maintained her state`s tradition by taking the women`s title in an excellent 11.75 secs.

Srabani Nanda from Odisha was one-hundredth of a second faster than Bengal`s Asha Roy (11.89 to 11.90s) for the second spot.

It is rare to see a qualified medical practitioner taking part in sports, especially the track and field athletics.


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