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Saroj's gold medal effort not good enough for Olympics

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Patiala, June 28 (IANS) The 2017 Asian champion Ajay Kumar Saroj’s chances of making cut for the Tokyo Olympic Games evaporated as his gold medal-winning time of 3 minutes 42.55 seconds in men’s 1500 metres fell short of Olympic qualification time of 3 minutes 35 seconds, at the National Inter-State Athletics Championships here on Monday.

In the absence of 2018 Asian Games champion Jinson Johnson, Saroj didn’t face any challenge from his rivals on Monday.

Saroj shot into lead early in the race and was leading the group of three runners at the bell. He stretched the lead on the home straight to win the gold with a time of 3:42.55 secs.

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Shashi Bhushan Singh of West Bengal won silver with a time of 3:44.19 secs.

Delhi’s Rahul won bronze with a time of 3:46.17 secs.

In the other track and field events, none of the gold medal winners could achieve Olympic qualification mark in their respective events.

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Sri Lanka’s Kalinga Kumarage won the men’s 400m event with a personal best time of 45.73 seconds, but it was slower than the Olympic qualification time of 44.90 secs.

With national record holder, M Sreeshankar of Kerala skipping the Inter-State Athletics Championships, Muhammed Anees Yahiya claimed men’s long jump gold with an effort of 7.76m.

Yugant Shekhar Singh of Uttar Pradesh won silver with a jump of 7.63.

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On Tuesday, the focus will be on men’s 4x400m relay squad as the national team would attempt to match, if not better, the 3:01.89 clocked on Friday to confirm their place for the Tokyo Olympics 2021.

The results (finals):

Men

400m: 1. Kalinga Kumarage (Sri Lanka) 45.73 seconds; 2. Vikrant Panchal (Haryana) 46.83; 3. Sarthak Bhambri (Delhi) 47.25.

1500m: 1. Ajay Kumar Saroj (Uttar Pradesh) 3:42.55; 2. Shashi Bhushan Singh (West Bengal) 3:44.19; 3. Rahul (Delhi) 3:46.17.

Long Jump: 1. Muhammed Anees Yahiya (Kerala) 7.76m; 2. Yugant Shekhar Singh (Uttar Pradesh) 7.63; 3. Rishabh Rishishwar (Uttar Pradesh) 7.54.

4x100m relay: 1. Maharashtra (Harsh Ajay Rana, K Pandurang Bhosale, A Prakash Khot and S Rajesh Naitam) 41.23; 2. Kerala 41.99; 3. Tamil Nadu 42.03.

Women

400m: 1. Priya Habbathanahally (Karnataka) 53.29 seconds; 2. M R Poovamma (Karnataka) 53.54; 3. Veeramani Revathi (Tamil Nadu) 53.71.

10,000m: 1. Pooja Harijan (Rajasthan) 35:29.59; 2. Phoolan Pal (Uttar Pradesh) 37:30.24; 3. Jyoti (Uttar Pradesh) 38:23.21.

—IANS

nns/kh

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