Calicut (Kerala), April 2 (IANS) Long-distance runners Kartik Kumar and Sajivani Baburao Jadhav came up with personal best efforts to claim gold medals on an action-packed opening day of the 25th AFI Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships here on Saturday. Pole Vaulter Rosy Meena Paulraj also won gold and in the process became only the fifth Indian woman to clear 4.00 metre at the C.H. Muhammed Koya Stadium here.
Kartik Kumar and Sanjivani Jadav won the men’s and women’s 10,000 metres gold medals respectively.
Kartik established himself as one of India’s brightest long-distance runners with a maiden Federation Cup 10,000m gold medal by clocking 29:20.21s. A bronze medallist in the Asian Junior Championships in Gifu, Japan in 2018 and 12th in the World U20 Championships in Tampere later that year, he clocked his personal best time to achieve a fine victory on Saturday.
Services’ runner Kartik produced the fastest time by an Indian in AFI competitions since Murli Kumar Gavit’s 28:38.34 in the Asian Championships in Doha in April 2019. Maharashtra’s Adesh Yadav, who set an Inter-University record of 28:15.46 in Moodbidri on January 4 this year, had not entered the Federation Cup competition.
The 22-year-old positioned himself in the lead bunch through the race, pulling away with four laps to go and building a sufficient lead to hold back a late sprint by Sawan Barwal (Himachal Pradesh). The effort on the final lap got Barwal past Kart’k Kumar’s team-mate Gulveer Singh but left him with no reserves to break the beam in the first place.
Kartik Kumar finished sixth in 2019 and second to Abhishek Pal last year but establishe’ the year’s fastest time by an Indian over the distance when he won the National Open Championships in Warangal.
In the women’s 10,000m, Sanjivani Babur Jadav pulled away from Seema (Himachal Pradesh) after 10 laps to get a personal best time. Her previous best was 33:14.16 clocked in the inter-university championships in Guntur in December 2017. On Saturday, the 25-year-old finished 1 minute 3 seconds off the 32:10.18 set by AFI as the Asian Games qualifying mark.
Rosy Meena Paulraj (Tamil Nadu) also came up with her best effort in the pole vault, clearing 4.00m to win gold from her team-mate Baranica Elangovan, beating her by’10cm. Haryana’s Pooja, with a personal best of 3.95m earlier this year, cleared 3.80m to take the bronze and watch the two Tamil Nadu athletes battle for top honours.
Aishwarya Mishra of Maharashtra ran a sensational r’ce in the women’s 400m heats, clocking a personal best time of 52.41 seconds. Running her first national-level race in more than a year since she finished fourth in the Federation Cup in Patiala last year when she clocked her previous best of 54.60, she left Jisna Mathew in her wake.
Aishwarya Mishra’s time earned her place among the top 10 Indian women quarter milers in the past decade and is the second-fastest this year behind the 52.37 that Priya H Mohan clocked in the Indian Grand Prix 1 in Thiruvananthapuram. The experienced MR Poovamma held her own as she won her heat with a measure of comfort, clocking 53.83 seconds.
Amoj Jacob (Delhi), Muhammed Ajmal (Kerala) and two Tamil Nadu athletes, Rajesh Ramesh and T Santhosh Kumar, produced sub-47-second times while Noah Nirmal Tom (Kerala) came home in 47.00 in the 400m semi-finals to raise expectations of a keen’contest for the men’s quarter-mile medals. The seasoned Arokia Rajiv missed out on a place in the final.
M Sreeshankar (Kerala) laid down the gauntlet in the men’s long jump qualifying with a leap of 8.09m. Jeswin Aldrin, jumping with a 2.4mps wind assisting him, hit the sand at 7.94m to raise expectations of a thrilling final on Sunday afternoon.
The morning sessionhas marked by Tamil Nadu’s A Vignesh and G Kathiravan leaving the established sprinter Gurindervir Singh in third place in the 100m heats. Gurindervir did not start the semifinals where another Tamil Nadu sprinter B Siva Kumar emerged the fastest of the qualifiers with a time of 10.47 seconds.
Stalin Joes (Tamil Nadu) rode on his sprinting skills to hold a slender four-point lead over Boota Singh (Haryana) at the end of five events in the decathlon. With an 11.24 second 100m dash, a 6.95m Long Jump and a 51.96 second 400m run, he was able to paper over a 10.31m Shot Put effort that set him back considerably. He also had a 1.77m High Jump.
The results (finals):
10000m: 1. Kartik Kumar (Uttar Pradesh) 29:20.21; 2. Sawan Barwal (Himachal Pradesh) 29:21.29; 3. Gulveer Singh (Uttar Pradesh) 29:22.44.
10000m: 1. Sanjivani Babur Jadhav (Maharashtra) 33:13.07; 2. Seema (Himachal Pradesh) 34:31.44; 3. Kavita Yadav (Uttar Pradesh) 34:56.42.
Pole vault: 1. Rosy Meena Paulraj (Tamil Nadu) 4.00m; 2. Baranica Elangovan (Tamil Nadu) 3.90; 3. Pooja (Haryana) 3.80.