Sudha Singh dominates 3000m steeplechase, wins ticket to Asian Games
Six athletes make Asian Games cut on the penultimate day of the National Inter State Athletics Championships.
Olympian Sudha Singh raced to victory in the women’s steeplechase on the penultimate day of the National Inter State Athletics Championships here at Indira Gandhi Stadium on Thursday.
Her winning time of 9:39.59 secs was better than the Asian Games qualifying norm of 9:50 secs. The Uttar Pradesh runner was among six athletes to have made the cut for the Asian Games on Thursday.
Leaving behind her disappointment of missing the Commonwealth Games, Sudha said a short training stint in high altitude of Bhutan contributed to her victory. “Good workout in tough conditions made the difference,’” she said.
Sudha said she could have done better but there was no one to push her in the race. In absence of arch rival Lalita Babar, who quit the race after one-lap, it was a start-to-finish affair for Sudha.
In the men’s group, Naveen Kumar of Haryana made the cut with a time of 8:39.42 secs, which was better than his own meet record of 8:41.40 secs and Asian Games norm of 8:41secs.
Haryana’s Nirmala Sheoran was also impressive in the women’s 400m heats. She crossed the finish line in 52.36 secs to assert her supremacy. The time was within the qualifying mark of 52.47 secs. The final is slated for Friday and only top two runners will earn individual berths for Jakarta.
National 100m champion Dutee Chand also emerged fastest runner in the heats, clocking 11.42 secs to qualify for the Asian Games (11.67 secs).
In field events, Shivpal Singh dominated javelin throw. His best throw of 82.28m gave him a ticket to Jakarta. The qualifying mark was 81m. Coming back from a lay off due to an injury it was big achievement, said Shivpal’s coach Kashinath Naik.
A lingering fear of pain was always at the back of Shivpal’s mind. ‘’ I was thankful to God that I was able to sustain my efforts in the meet. In the last and final attempt I used all my strength to cross the 81m mark,’’ he said.
A month back Shivpal wasn’t considered for European exposure tour to Finland. ‘’I don’t know why I was rejected, but I am more determined to do better in the continental meet,’’ he added.
In men’s high jump, Siddharth Yadav, favourite to win gold had to settle for bronze. He failed to come near his personal best of 2.25m, which was also the qualifying norm for Asian Games. However, lesser known Karnataka jumper B Chetan crossed the bar at 2.25m to win gold. V Bharathi of Tamil Nadu cleared 2.21m to win silver medal.
Meanwhile, national record holder Mohammad Anas pulled out of 400m semi-finals due to fever.
There was disappointment for Amiya Mallick of Odisha, who is national record holder in men’s 100m, and upcoming 400m runner Jisna Mathew, a prodigy of PT Usha, as both failed to achieve norms for the Asian Games.