Hurdler Jyothi’s sub-13 secs race won’t count as national mark - Hindustan Times
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Hurdler Jyothi’s sub-13 secs race won’t count as national mark

ByAvishek Roy, Ahmedabad
Oct 04, 2022 11:51 PM IST

Tailwind over legal limit denied the young Andhra Pradesh 100m hurdler a new record; Manu wins the men's javelin in Neeraj Chopra's absence

Jyothi Yarraji, it seems competes less with her rivals and more with the elements. For a third time, she ran faster than the national record only to discover the tailwind was over the permissible two metres/second.

Jyothi Yarraji(DD Sports)
Jyothi Yarraji(DD Sports)

The 100m hurdler has rapidly improved this season, bettering her best multiple times. On Tuesday, she became the first Indian woman hurdler to dip under 13 seconds, clocking 12.79s, but a tailwind of 2.5m/secs meant it won’t be ratified as a national record.

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Yarraji was heartbroken again despite having completed a double—she also won the 100m—but this time she was more positive. “The first time I broke the national record and it turned out to be wind assisted I was dejected; I cried a lot because I had prepared hard for it. Now I have started to take it in my stride. I know I have done well and I will break the national record again,” she said. “I expected this timing today because I know I am working hard with my coach and I have set bigger targets.”

Yarraji’s confidence was also due to the 100m win, beating a top class field that included Dutee Chand and Hima Das. “That was a big boost for me. They are both an inspiration and have encouraged me.”

This is her first international season, but Yarraji has set new benchmarks almost every meet.

“When I went abroad and trained with others, I was scared at first how I would be able to compete with them. Then I saw I was able to give good performances and push them. I was breaking national records and improving with each race. That gave me a lot of confidence.”

She trains at the Reliance Foundation Centre in Bhubaneswar under James Hillier. The coach, who took her to the high performance centre, has immense faith in her abilities.

“You always analyse and improve. She has great potential and can run 12.6secs,” he said. “She can be really quick. I don’t like to put a timing on it, but I know she will keep improving.”

Yarraji’s natural speed and technique, along with her execution during competitions, has made her a good hurdler.

“She attacks the hurdles. She is always planning for the race and then it’s about executing and her ability to raise herself in competitions is remarkable. She has in fact raised the standard of hurdles in India and now the other girls are getting better. Jyothi has to be faster to beat them and that is really great for Indian hurdles as they keep pushing each other.”

Next year, Yarraji will be competing in a series of international tournaments in Europe in preparation for the postponed Asian Games in China and the Budapest World Championships.

“After the Open Nationals this month she will take a break and enjoy some time with the family (in Andhra Pradesh) and come back fresh for the Asian Championships and Asian Games. We will be looking to have a training stint abroad.

“We have to utilise her speed; there are other technical aspects that we will work on. After a certain level, hurdling is more biomechanical. Once you come below 13 secs, you have to focus on technical things. The world’s top hurdlers have been doing this for six-eight years. Jyothi is just starting and has a great future ahead of her.”

Jyothi herself says Hillier’s encouragement has kept her going.

“He believes in my potential, doesn’t put me under pressure but tells me that I can achieve his targets. We know what we are doing in training and it is my job to take that to competition. He tells me to do hard work and smart work,” Jyothi says.

Manu wins javelin

Manu DP lived up to his tag as favourite, the Services thrower winning the javelin event with a modest effort of 80.71m. Rohit Yadav of Uttar Pradesh came second (79.78m) and Abhishek Drall of Delhi (79.01) came third.

Manu, who threw a personal best of 84.35m this season, competed in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with Rohit, whose best is 82.54m. The two have been pushing each other at the domestic level.

For Manu, the Birmingham experience was invaluable. The 22-year-old was competing in his first international meet yet threw 82.28m. It was his fourth 80-plus throw this season.

“I felt good when Neeraj bhaiya messaged me after CWG and congratulated me. He is always in touch and very encouraging. I told him it would have been nice had he also competed,” said the Karnataka thrower.

“I still watch Neeraj bhaiya’s videos and try to learn from them. When an Indian is an Olympic champion, you don’t need to look anywhere else for inspiration.

His coach Kashinath Naik says Manu will be ready to go past 85m next season.

“We will have a good off-season training and next year the target would be 86-87m to qualify for the world championships and Asian Games,” said the former international thrower.

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