VK Elakkiyadasan (Railways) and Odisha’s Srabani Nanda emerged as the fastest man and woman respectively in the 61st AFI National Open Athletics Championships at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on a rain-hit evening in Bengaluru on Sunday. But it was shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Services) who grabbed the attention of fans and connoisseurs alike.
With an opening effort of 20.68m, Tajinderpal Singh Toor made it difficult for his rivals at the shot put circle. He had two more puts over 20m mark on a day when Karanveer Singh was the only other athlete to heave the iron ball past that line.
The 27-year-old Elakkiyadasan led the men’s 100m from start to finish, winning in 10.37 seconds to beat Services’ Harjit Singh to a distant second. The 18-year-old Shivam Vashnav (Delhi) who had created quite a buzz with a good run in the semifinals, did not find his rhythm after being slow off the blocks and finished eight.
Srabani Nanda, 31, trailed at the 50m mark but sustained her pace long enough to win the women’s sprint by a hundredth of a second from Himashree Roy (Railways). Diandra Dudely Valladares (Maharashtra) trailed off to fifth place, unable to capitalise on a blazing start. Hima Das (Assam) was in the frame till 80m but slowed down palpably.
Tamil Nadu’s 23-year-old Subha Venkatesan scorched the track in winning the women’s 400m in a personal best time of 52.57 seconds. Soniya Baishya (Railways) also produced a personal best in her first sub-54 second effort since 2019 to take the second place. Her team-mate R Vithya Ramraj, who had topped the qualification, came in fifth in 53.88 seconds.
The men’s quarter-mile podium was bereft of Services sprinters as Railways claimed a one-two through 23-year-old Rajesh Ramesh (46.63 seconds) and Ayush Dabas (46.86). Karnataka’s Nihal Joel left the three Services runners, Mijo Chacko Kurian, Angrej Singh and Rahul Baby, in his wake to take the bronze medal.
The 17-year-old Parvej Khan provided Services some cheer with a well-earned victory in the men’s 1500m. Lying fifth with 100m to go, he kicked on from the outside to win by two-hundredths of a second from a pair of Madhya Pradesh runners, Abhiskeh Singh Thakur and Ritesh Ohre even as Satya Dev (Haryana) sprawled on the track barely 5m from the finish.
In the women’s metric mile, Madhya Pradesh’s KM Deeksha sprinted past Ankita Dhyani (Railways) for a memorable maiden win this season.
The Railways trio of Swapna Barman, Sowmiya Murugan and Sonu Kumari swept to the podium at the end of the two-day Heptathlon competition. Swapna Barman topped five of the seven events to run out a comfortable winner by more than 400 points.
The results (final):
100m: 1. VK Elakkiyadasan (Railways) 10.37 seconds; 2. Harjit Singh (Services) 10.52; 3. B Siva Kumar (Railways) 10.54.
400m: 1. Rajesh Ramesh (Railways) 46.63 seconds; 2. Ayush Dabas (Railways) 46.86; 3. Nihal Joel (Karnataka) 47.03.
1500m: 1. Parvej Khan (Services) 3:46.41; 2. Abhishek Singh Thakur (Madhya Pradesh) 3:46.43; 3. Ritesh Ohre (Madhya Pradesh) 3:46.43.
Shot Put: 1. Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Services) 20.68m; 2. Karanveer Singh (Railways) 20.10; 3. Inderjeet Singh (Haryana) 18.48.
100m: 1. Srabani Nanda (Odisha) 11.55 seconds; 2. Himashree Roy (Railways) 11.53; 3. Archana Suseendran (Tamil Nadu) 11.58.
400m: 1. Subha Venkatesan (Tamil Nadu) 52.57 seconds; 2. Soniya Baishya (Railways) 53.38; 3. Dandi Jyothikasri (Andhra Pradesh) 53.43.
1500m: 1. KM Deeksha (Madhya Pradesh) 4:23.03; Ankita Dhyani (Railways) 4:23.25; 3. Lili Das (West Bengal) 4:23.91.
Heptathlon: 1. Swapna Barman (Railways) 5798 points (100mH: 13.50, HJ: 1.76, SP: 11.81, 200m: 25.96, LJ: 5.89, JT: 48.12, 800m: 2:24.38); 2. Sowmiya Murugan (Railways) 5393; 3. Sonu Kumari (Railways) 5132.