New meet mark by Sudha, Tintu wins gold
Bangalore: Asian Games gold medallist Sudha Singh set a new meet mark in 3,000m steeplechase while leading middle distance runner Tintu Luka made a glorious return after an injury lay-off on the concluding day of the Senior Inter-State Athletics Championships on Tuesday.
Sudha, representing Uttar Pradesh, ran a solo race in women`s 3,000m steeplechase to win gold in a new meet timing of 10:01.24 at Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
With none of her rivals pushing her, Sudha was running all alone in the final straight and thus missed an opportunity to improve upon her national record of 9:55.67, which she set while winning gold in the Guangzhou Asian Games last year.
Another Uttar Pradesh girl, Priyanka Singh Patel, was second with a timing of 10:21.37, while a tired O P Jaisha of Punjab, former national record holder and defending champion, finished third at 10:25.10.
Meanwhile, Kerala athlete Luka returned to the track with a bang after a lay-off of more than six months, following an injury in the Asian Games.
In her usual style, Luka, the protege of legendary P T Usha, led the race from the start and clocked a moderate 2:05.32 to win gold. S R Bindu made it a 1-2 for Kerala, winning the silver exactly five seconds behind Luka.
In men`s long jump, national record holder Amritpal Singh of Punjab won gold with a leap of 7.81m, while Ankit Sharma of Madhya Pradesh bagged the silver with an effort of 7.74m. Haryana`s Sudhir was third with 7.70m.
Kerala got another gold, through Sajeesh Joseph in men`s 800m at 1:47.34, while Rajasthan`s Ghamanda Ram, who bagged three silver in Asian Grand Prix Series in China, was second at 1:47.37.
Sajeesh was adjudged the `best athlete` among men while another Kerala athlete, long jumper Mayookha Johny, was declared the `best athlete` among women.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Kashinath Naik of Karnataka cleared 73.77m to win the men`s javelin throw gold.
The men`s 200m race was won by local athlete M G Joseph while Manikanda Arumugam of Tamil Nadu bagged the silver in 21.82 secs. Andhra Pradesh`s K Mrudula (24.93s) was the winner in the women`s 200m.
Tamil Nadu`s Surendhar and Kerala`s M M Anchu won gold in men`s 110m hurdles and women`s 100m hurdles in 14.62secs and 13.90secs.
Kerala emerged overall champions and also bagged men`s and women`s team titles with 13 gold, seven silver and seven bronze medals.
However, no athlete could qualify for the World Championships in Daegue in South Korea in August from this meet.