Last year at the Inter-Railways athletics meet, Kamalpreet Kaur had pipped Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Navjeet Kaur Dhillon for the gold medal. The difference between the throws of the two athletes was 7.74m. Kamalpreet took the top position with a record throw of 61.04m.

On Friday, the two were once again up against each other at the Federation Cup in Patiala. It was expected to be a close battle between the two but Kamalpreet swept the field and took home the gold medal with a score of 60.25 m at the National Institute of Sports ground.

Dhillon managed to reduce the difference to 3.89m but her 56.36m throw was only good enough to fetch her the silver medal. The bronze medal went to Suravi Biswas of West Bengal who threw the disc 47.98 m.

Kamalpreet may not have broken any record at the Federation Cup but she managed to qualify for the next month’s Asian Championships, an event in which she had finished fifth two years back in Bhubaneswar.

She met the qualification standard of 58.50 m set by Athletics Federation of India in her second throw that was registered at 58.97m but ended the competition with her best throw.

“I was trying to throw better than this but I have lower back pain and took painkillers to participate in this event. Thankfully I qualified for the Asian Championships,” she said.

The 6’1” athlete began the sport only in 2014 at Sports Authority of India centre in Badal village and took it up seriously after winning the gold medal in U-18 and U-20 national championships in 2016.

Her consistent rise saw her win the Federation Cup gold and a sixth-place finish at the 29th World University Games in 2017. But it was last year that she broke through, breaking Krishna Poonia’s six-year Railway record and making her personal best 61.04m in Lucknow.

Javelin mark crossed

Another athlete, Shivpal Singh met the qualification standard in men’s javelin throw as he covered a distance of 81.85 m, 1.10m more than the AFI standard. That was Shivpal’s only throw in the qualification round and he will now try to win the gold medal in the final on Saturday.

“I was taking it very easy. I just wanted to throw a normal throw and did not expect it to go more than 81 metres. I am happy but I want to improve the performance in the final and qualify for the World Championships,” he said.

Former national-record holder Rajender Singh threw the spear 76.31m in the qualification round while Asian Championships bronze medalist Davinder Kang threw 71.53m.

While no other athlete could meet the qualification standards in any events on Friday, national record holder in men’s pole vault S Siva set a new meet record by clearing a height of 5.16m, improving his own record by 0.01m. The qulification standard was 5.40m. Dhirendra Kumar of Uttar Pradesh won the silver medal by clearing a height of 4.70m while Bineesh Jacob of Kerala had same clearance but took home bronze medal as he had more fouled attempts.

The first day of the competition ended with a surprise in Parul Chaudhary who upset Loganathan Suriya of Tamil Nadu in the women’s 5000m event. Chaudhary, who was in third position till the second half of the final lap, clocked a time of 15.58.35 to get the better of Suriya who clocked a time of 16.03.15. Maharashtra’s Sanjivani Jadhav clocked a time of 16.04.58 to clinch the bronze medal.

“I wasn’t looking to beat anyone. I just wanted to meet the qualification standard which I missed by 0.80 seconds. But steeplechase is my main event and I’ll try to qualify in that,” Chaudhary said.