Amlan, Jyothi take sprint honours
Jyothi Yarraji breaks meet record while Amlan Borgohain cruises to gold as training mates win the 100m dash.
Amlan Borgohain screamed in elation from the sidelines as Jyothi Yarraji produced the biggest upset of the National Games thus far, beating leading sprinters Dutee Chand and Hima Das in the women’s 100m at IIT Gandhinagar on Saturday.
Jyothi has been a revelation this season, breaking the national record multiple times in 100m hurdles. This was her first big foray in the 100m dash. She clocked 11.51s to take gold; Archana Suseendran was second (11.55s) and Diandra Valladares was third (11.62s). Jyothi was even faster in the heats (11.45s).
Before Jyothi — representing Andhra Pradesh — cruised to gold medal, Assam’s Borgohain had expectedly won the men’s 100m dash (10.38s) ahead of VK Elakiyadasan (10.44s) and Siva Kumar (10.48s). Jyothi and Borgohain train at the same academy in Bhubaneshwar and push each other for excellence in training.
Like Jyothi, Borgohain too had a stellar season and set the national record in both 100m (10.25s) and 200m (20.52s). Jyothi was also on a record-breaking spree in hurdles this season and smashed it thrice to finally settle in 13.04s. She will be competing in her pet event on Sunday.
“My focus will remain hurdles. But if I can do well in 100m it means I can give good timing in hurdles also and that is the reason I participated here. I am so happy that I could come first with Hima didi, Dutee didi competing. They are an inspiration to me. Even though they were competing, they were encouraging me that you can do better,” said Jyothi, who exited in first round heats in (13.18s) in Birmingham.
Jyothi also competed in 100m relay along with Dutee, Hima and Srabani Nanda where India made it to the final and finished fifth (43.81s).
“She is still a hurdler. I just wanted to try her over 100m. She is in really good shape in training and I knew she would get her PB but to win gold was fantastic,” said James Hillier, head coach at Reliance Foundation Odisha High Performance Centre, who trains the duo.
One of the reasons Hillier fielded her in 100m was to prepare her for the relay in the Asian Games.
“She has a good chance in the fourth leg in the 100m relay. At CWG, she did really well in heats and the final. This was an opportunity for her to make a statement to the selectors that even though I am a hurdler, ‘I can run a relay.’ It will also give her confidence and belief. Someone who can run 11.45 in 100m should be around 12.6 in the hurdles. Jyothi is currently 13.04 and now she will have the belief she can do even better,” he said.
With Amlan, she shares a healthy rivalry in the academy. If Amlan wins then Jyothi wants to win as well. “They encourage each other. It’s great fun,” laughs Hillier.
For Amlan, the CWG entry standard set by the federation was too high to breach and that made him more determined to get better.
“I just want to run fast and fast. I have not set any limit for myself. I was so depressed that I was not in CWG so I made this target. My psychologist told me that you are meant for bigger things. I have set big targets for next year,” said Amlan, who clocked 10.28s in the semi-finals.