From the time she started to jump in 2002, Mayookha Johney dreamt of bettering Anju Bobby George's long jump record. Though she had given it a thought, Mayookha hadn't in her wildest dreams thought she would break Anju's not so often spoken about national record in triple jump.
Call it a quirk of fate or a reflection on her talent, Mayookha entered an event she had not participated in the whole season. Yet, she won gold with a hop-skip and jump of 13.68m during the National Inter-State Athletics meet on Friday. “This is the first time I tried my luck in triple jump this season,” said the lanky athlete from Kerala after bettering Anju's 13.67m record set at Hyderabad in 2002. Kulwinder Kaur of Punjab won silver with 13.42m while Prajusha won the bronze with a leap of 13.28m.
“The conditions were perfect,” said Mayookha. “I could have jumped 13.70m. Anyway, I have now qualified for the Commonwealth Games as well.”
Mayookha had won the long jump gold at the Asian All Star event in Delhi recently and is looking to break the long jump national record soon. She has paced the season well and is targetting the Commonwealth Games to peak. “That (long jump record) should come soon. All I need to do is focus on my training,” said the 22-year-old. “Hopefully, during the Games I shall be able to better Anju's record,” she said with a smile.
Dimri scorches track
If Mayookha could afford to smile, Pankaj Dimri had every reason to laugh. He might not have broken the three-decade-old 800m national record set by Sriram Singh, but ran the fastest 800m since the legendary athlete's effort at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
Dimri also set the meet record at 1:46.26s. The man from Uttaranchal felt he ran one of the best races of his life. “I am happy with my effort and happier still to qualify for the Commonwealth Games,” he said. The qualification mark was set at 1:47.50s. Though he thought the CWG would be tough, he felt he had a good chance at the Asian Games if he maintained his current form.