2014 Asian Games men's shot put bronze medallist Inderjeet Singh achieved the Olympic qualification mark with a throw of 20.65m on the second day of the 19th Federation Cup at Mangala Stadium on Saturday.
Defending champion Inderjeet from Harayana was just a shade away from the national mark of 20.69m, held by Om Prakash Singh since 2012.
The Olympic qualification period had commenced only the day before. The qualifying mark in men's shot put is 20.50m. Punjab's Tejinder Singh (18.08m) pushed Om Prakash (18.02m) to the third spot.
Inderjeet, also a World University Games silver medallist, has been making an impact in the sport despite financial difficulties. His family has struggled with him in his pursuit of athletics excellence.
Standing at six foot and five inches and tipping the scales at 150 kg, the athlete has made consistent progress over the years and is determined to win an Olympic medal for the country.Amiya, Srabani emerge fastest man and woman of the meet
Amiya Kumar Mallick
Odisha sprinters Amiya Kumar Mallick and Srabani Nanda emerged the fastest man and woman of the meet.
Amiya, who underwent a training stint under global superstar Usain Bolt’s coach Glenn Mills in Jamaica, clocked 10.56 secs to win the men's 100m.
The wiry Mallick pipped defending champion Jyoti Shankar Debnath at the tape. Both clocked an identical 10.56 secs, but the Odisha athlete was declared the winner in photo-finish.
Krishna Kumar Rane of Maharashtra went home with the bronze in 10.58 secs.
Srabani won the women's 100m with a personal best time of 11.59 secs. She also qualified for the Asian championships.
Srabani, the silver medalist in Fed Cup in the last four editions, got off the blocks first and pushed state-mate Dutee Chand, a pre-race favourite to silver. Dutee clocked 11.86 secs ahead of Karnataka's MG Padmini (11.89 secs).
New mark and personal bests
Army man Devender Singh become the first athlete to create a new meet mark as he set out the spear to 79.65m to win the javelin throw event.
Haryana's Neeraj Chopra (73.96m) and Delhi lad Rohit Kumar (72.72m) were the other medallists. The first two came under the qualifying grade for the Asian meet.
National record-holder Rajinder Singh (Haryana), who won the National Games gold with 82.23m, finished fourth with 71.67m.
Former Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Durgesh Kumar Pal clinched the gold in men's 400m hurdles clocking a personal best 50.29 secs, thus obtained a berth in the Wuhan-bound team for the Asian championships.
His Army teammate M Ramachandran, in second place, also made it with yet another career best time of 50.35 secs. The bronze went to Tamil Nadu youngster A Dharun in 51.14 secs.
It was a tremendous improvement in personal bests for both the athletes as their previous bests stood at 50.61 and 50.87 secs respectively. Last year's winner Jithin Paul, representing Gujarat, failed to defend his title this time and finished outside the podium in 51.47 secs.
Capitalising on the absence of Ashwini Akkunji, Kerala girl Anu Raghavan took the women's title in 400m hurdles. In addition to the gold, she also attained the qualifying norm for the Asians with a time of 59.13 secs that was third best in her career and second in the current season.
Host state's M Arpitha (60.79 secs) collected the silver, while Tamil Nadu got another bronze medal through M Loganayaki (62.99 secs).
Army got another gold medal through Jinson Johnson as he came from behind to win the men's 800m in 1:47.58, yet another PB for him.
Manjeet Singh (Tata Motors, 1:48.14) and KA Bharath of Karnataka (1:50.80 PB) garnered the other two medals, while local lad Vishwambar Kolekar who led the field with 50 secs first lap could manage only a fourth place at the end in 1:51.84.
Tintu Luka of Kerala claimed the gold in the women's 800m race with a time of 2:04.14, ensuring a place in the national squad for Wuhan but failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics, for which the standard is 2:01.00.
Long jumper Ankit Sharma, who represented Madhya Pradesh in the last three editions of the Fed Cup but switched to Haryana this year, went on to win his fourth straight title with a 7.99m leap.
While winning his gold medal at the National Games earlier this year, Ankit had jumped a personal best 8.04m.
Interestingly, national record-holder Kumaravel Premkumar, currently in a training stint in the US, has recently registered a series of jumps above 8m.
Former national record-holder L Deepmala Devi, representing Karnataka here, won the women's 20 km race walk with a time 1 hour 44 minutes and 29 secs, the slowest winning time in four years.
On Sunday morning, Gujarat's Maniram Patel claimed gold in the men's 20 km walk, clocking a time of 1:29:51. Kuldeep of Tata Motors (1:31:04) and Ankit Kumar of Indian Navy came second and third respectively.
At the end of the second day, hosts Karnataka led the points table with 63 points, ahead of Army (46) and Kerala (40).
(With inputs from agencies)