Hurdler Siddhanth Thingalaya, representing ONGC, secured his berth for the Asian Games by equaling his own national record in the 110m hurdles on the concluding day of the Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships at Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala, on Tuesday.
The final day of the championships had 16 finals. For Siddhanth, the NIS track seems to be a favourite one as it was on the same venue he had set his first-ever national record in 13.81 seconds four years ago.
Thereafter, he improved it three times and dipped under that time at least 10 times. Siddhanth clocked 13.65 seconds, a timing he had achieved during the Belgian national championships at Brussels in 2012.
Premkumar, representing Telangana, posted 13.96 secs for the silver, while Tamil Nadu’s Surendhar timed 14.24s for the third place.
As in the men’s section, the line-up for the women’s 100m hurdles also saw a galaxy of strong athletes fighting for the top spot.
Tamil Nadu’s junior talent Deepika surged past of her experienced compatriots right from the start. Having cleared the last hurdle together with KV Sajitha and MM Anchu, Deepika lost her balance in the last few metres and had a nose-diving right across the finish-line. The photo-finish revealed Anchu taking the gold in 13.80sec, with Deepika settling for silver just one hundredth of a second behind. Kerala’s Sajitha won the bronze in 13.86 seconds.
In yet another close combat, Kerala’s Kunhu Mohammed piped Tamil Nadu star Arokia Rajiv at the post (46.40 to 46.41 seconds) to win the men’s 400m title. In the women’s race, MR Pzold won with a timing of 52.42 seconds. With three other women finishing under 54 seconds, Indian athletes showed their readiness for the Incheon Asiad.
Fresh from his bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games, Arpinder Singh overcame initial hiccups to win the triple jump with 16.70m. National record-holder Renjith Maheswary (16.43m) and AV Rakesh Babu (16.15m) settled for the other two spots.
Two strong 200m finals in the evening had TN boy Manikanda Arumuguam (21.21s) and Bengal girl Asha Roy (23.89s) clinch the top spots in men and women’s sections, respectively. Former Asian junior double gold medalist Rahul K Pal won the men’s 10,000m race in 30:04.77, just ahead of Tamil Nadu’s G Lakshmanan, who timed a close 30:05.20 for the second spot.
Tamil Nadu takes overall title
Tamil Nadu took the overall title with 125 points and men’s title with 82 points from the championships.
Kerala were champions in women’s section with 57 points and finished runners-up overall with 121 points.
The ONGC team was adjudged runners-up in both the sections, pocketing 65.5 points in men’s category and 55 points in the women’s event.
Hurdler Siddhanth Thingalaya and star 400m runner MR Poovamma were adjudged best athletes in their respective divisions.