Coach blames Jharkhand’s poor show on inexperience


he stellar 6.16m long jump by Priyanka Kerketta on Saturday proved to be Jharkhand’s lone medal, as the four-day 59th National Open Athletics Championships in Ranchi wrapped up on Sunday with Railways as overall champs.

Jharkhand state coach for the national games, Arvind Kumar, blamed the age of the Jharkhand contingent for the poor show. “Of the 24-member team, 22 athletes were in the Under-19 category. The team lacked the experience that their counterparts from other states had,” he told this paper from the venue.

Congratulating Priyanka, the 21-year-old Mandar girl, he said Jharkhand could have won another medal had ace 100m hurdle Sapna Kumari not suffered an injury.

But, the national meet had action aplenty on its last day. As on Friday, Sunday belonged to Odisha’s star sprinter Dutee Chand. Dutee, 23, who created a new national 100m sprint record at 11.22 seconds on Friday, was in her element on Sunday in the 200m sprint. She stormed to the finish at 23.17 seconds, leaving behind Archana Suseendran of Tamil Nadu and Chandralekha Anandhan of the Railways.

Abhinav Panwar of Delhi raced to gold in the men’s 200m (21.37 seconds), ahead of Karre Ashok from Services and M. Manikanda Arumugam M. of the Railways.

Chitra Palakeez Unnikrish of Railways grabbed the women’s 800m gold by breasting the tape in 2.04.59 seconds, breezing past teammate Shipra Sarkar and Pramila Yadav of Uttar Pradesh. Among men, Md Afzal P. of Services clocked 1:50.88 seconds in the 800m race to win it over teammate Ankesh Chaudhary and Tamil Nadu’s Mujamil Ameet.

Rekha Singh of Delhi topped the women’s hammer throw with a 56.38m hurl, as did Taranveer Singh Bains of Services in men’s with a 68.49m hurl. Women’s high jump saw Rubina Yadav of the Railways leap 1.76m. In the men’s long jump, Sreeshankar M. of Kerala won gold with a 7.93m leap.