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Upcoming talents display their prowess

A few promising youngsters was all that the 69th edition of the All India Inter-University Athletic Championship offered in this picturesque city in Kerala, the nursery of Indian athletics.

india Updated: Dec 26, 2008 13:57 IST

A few promising youngsters was all that the 69th edition of the All India Inter-University Athletic Championship offered in this picturesque city in Kerala, the nursery of Indian athletics.

The five-day event did not produce anything extraordinary, but a lot of youngsters displayed their talent, which, if properly groomed, could win laurels for the country. In some events, athletes came out with sterling individual performances, a good omen for the country.

The meet was held under lights for the first time in Kerala and credit for which should go to the Kerala State Athletic Association and Mahatma Gandhi University for organising the meet in a grand manner. Nearly 2,500 athletes from 132 universities participated in the meet.

Universities from Kerala asserted their supremacy from day one to the end of the meet. Calicut University deservingly clinched the overall title with 15 medals, including seven golds, five silver and three bronze medals.

Kannur finished runner-up with five golds, two silver and three bronze. Besides, Calicut and Kannur had lifted the Men's and Women's team titles respectively.

Former Queen of Indian track and field PT Usha said the performance of the athletes was not bad, as seen from the number of records set in at the meet.

"The performances of the youngsters in some events was really good and I do not find any problems with regard to the standard," she said.

Usha, nicknamed 'Payyoli Express' in her heydays, said that Tintu Luka, a product of the Usha School of Athletics, had performed exceedingly well in the 800 m, despite not facing any competition at all. The meet saw 13 records being rewritten, of which seven went in favour of women.

With her sterling performance Mayookha Johny of Calicut bagged a golden double, both with meet records and caught the attention of all, since she had set the records in long jump and triple Jump, braving a injury to her right leg.

Hosts Mahatma Gandhi began in a breezy manner by winning the pole valut gold with a record by Bineesh Jacob. But their athletes faded out midway and finally ended in fourth place.

Among the athletes who have shown promise are N Sudha of Andhra University and M D Abdul Najeeb of Kakatiya University, who emerged as the fastest women and men athletes of the meet.

Another surprise performer was Kannur Varsity's Anu Mariam Jose, a first year BA student of Krishna Menon College, who upset two Olympians Sini Jose of Mahatma Gandhi and M R Poovamma of Mangalore, to win the 400 M with a record.

Gold medal winners with records Navjoban Kaur of Punjab University (Half Marathon and 10000 m Golds), Pawar Anil of Pune University (Half Marathon) Om Prakash Singh of Punjabi (Shot Put), K C Dija of Kannur (Pole Vault), Tintu Luka (800 M), Shejil Varghese of Calicut (400 M Hurdles), have shown great promise.

Others who put up impressive performances were Deep Chandra of CSJM (5000 m and 10000-Golds), Sudheer Kumar of Rajasthan (800 m and 1500 m), L Suriya of Bharatidasan ((5000 m), Gunjan Singh (CSJM-Hammer throw) and T Siddhanth of Mumbai (110 m H).

Arjuna Awardee Long jumper Mercy Kuttan said the performance of the athletes was not at the expected level. "They could have done a little better, considering the infrastructure facilities available to these upcoming athletes," she said.