Patiala: Delhi youngster Tejaswin Shankar smashed his own national record to claim the high jump gold as three athletes booked their Commonwealth Games berths on the third and penultimate day of the 22nd Federation Cup National Senior Championships on Wednesday.
The 19-year-old Shankar sailed over the bar at 2.28m to marginally improve his own national mark of 2.26m which he achieved in Coimbatore in 2016 during the Junior National Championships. In the process, he breached the Athletics Federation of India qualifying standards of 2.25m for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
Shankar had earlier cleared 2.28m at a collegiate event in the USA but today's mark was his first at an Athletics Federation of India event. Shankar did not begin well in the competition as he fluffed his first jump at 2.10m but made amends later to steadily cross 2.14m, 2.18m and 2.25m. He then cleared 2.28m in his very first attempt to set the national record.
With the rhythm going, Shankar, who is currently studying at the Kansas State University on a four-year undergraduate programme through scholarship, wanted to give a try at 2.31m and although he came close to clearing the height he failed in his three attempts.
"I had jumped this height in the USA but it feels good to clear this height at a competition in India. I need to get more consistent. I hope I will clear the 2.31m at the Commonwealth Games," said Shankar.
While all eyes were on the Delhi athlete, Siddharth Yadav of Haryana delivered the performance of his career to also clear 2.25m and finish with silver. He also booked a CWG berth with today's performance.
"It is the best jump of my career. My previous best was 2.23m," said the 25-year-old Yadav who made three failed attempts of 2.28m.
Shankar and Yadav were not the only athletes to qualify for the Commonwealth Games as L Suriya also made the cut-off mark in the women's 10000m race by clocking 32:23:96 seconds. The qualifying guideline was set at 32:30:00 seconds. Suriya had won the 5000m at the Federation Cup earlier.
"We had focused all her efforts for the 10000m because we felt that she had a better chance in the 10000m," said Suriya's coach Surender Singh. Of the other athletes in the competition, only pole vaulter P Surekha came close to matching the qualifying guideline for the Commonwealth Games.
Surekha, who held the national record of 4.15m, managed to clear 3.90m to finish 10cm shy of the CWG qualifying guideline of 4.00m. She finished ahead of Khyati Vakharia cleared 3.80m and Krishna Rachan (3.70m).
Javelin thrower Anu Rani, who needed to exceed her personal best of 61.80m in order to match the qualifying guideline of 62m, could only manage a best of 57.37m on the day. Rani managed her best effort in the very first attempt but faltered after that, fouling her final two throws. Pushpa Jhakar of Haryana finished second with 53.70m while Sharmila Kumari finished third with 53.53 seconds.