India’s young athletes set several meet records on the fourth and final day of 34th Junior National Athletics Championships that concluded at the Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium in Ranchi on Monday.
The event concluded with 14 new National Records and 24 new Meet Records.
Avantika Narale of Maharashtra wrote her name into the record books with a new meet record in the U-16 girls 200m sprint. Narale, a 15-year-old from Lonkar High School, Pune, stormed past the rest of her field to claim gold with an impressive time of 24.96 seconds. Narale pipped to the post Jeevanji Deepthi of Telengana who clocked 25.09 seconds. Uttar Pradesh’s 14-year-old Shaili Srivastava claimed the bronze medal with a time of 25.60 seconds.
Narale is no stranger to the track, having won a gold medal in the 100m sprint at the Khelo India School Games earlier this year. In Ranchi, Narale shaved .02 seconds off the previously existing meet record of 24.98 seconds set by Asian Games silver medalist Dutee Chand nine years ago at the Warrangal edition of the Junior National Championships in 2009.
Another sprint meet record was set by Nisar Ahmed of Delhi in the U-18 boys 200m race. Ahmed clinched the gold medal with a time of 21.50 seconds. Ahmed who first broke into the headlines when he set a U-16 record last year, added another mark to his name on Monday. He erased the existing record of 21.59 seconds set by Jijin Vijayan of Kerala in 2011. The national mark of 21.33 seconds stands in the name of Amiya Malik.
Ahmed soundly beat out Shanmuga Srinivasa of Andhra Pradesh who clocked 21.73 seconds while Kerala athlete Abhinav took the final step of the podium with a time of 21.87 seconds. To put Ahmed’s effort into perspective, his time of 21.50 seconds was .16 faster than that posted by Amit Kumar Yadav of Uttar Pradesh (21.66 seconds) who claimed the gold medal in the 200m race for U-20 men’s runners in the same Championships.
Rising middle distance runner Tai Bamhane also rewrote a meet record in her name over the course of winning the girls U-16 800m race. Bamhane, chugged home to the finish line with a time of 2.12.85 seconds to ease past the previous meet record of 2.13.00 seconds set by Chinchu Jose nearly 12 years ago at the 2006 Junior National Championships in Bangalore.
Tai Bamhane – belonging to the Warli tribe from western Maharashtra who studies in the Marathi-medium Vidyaprabodhini Prashala in Nashik — stayed well ahead of her rivals, running the two-lapper with assurance and finished nearly five seconds clear of Donthu Bhagya Lakshmi who clocked 2.17.79 seconds. The bronze medal was won by Uttarakhand athlete Anisha who stopped the clock in 2.18.37 seconds.
Despite not securing a mark of her own, Kerala’s Abitha Mary Manuel came in with a strong display in the U-20 Women’s 800m race. Manuel clinched the gold medal with a time of 2.09.43 seconds. The record Manuel missed out on was that of Tintu Luka who had clocked 2.07.48 seconds at the Mysore Junior National Championships in 2009. However Manuel was far faster than the rest of her field on Monday. She finished nearly three seconds ahead of Haryana athlete Sunil Kumari who clocked 2.12.38 seconds. Delhi runner Ankita Chahal came in third with a time of 2.12.73 seconds.