Karnataka’s Khyathi clinches pole vault gold


Railways emerge overall champions; Santosh, Chinta named best; State eves end second

Karnataka’s Khyathi Vakharia en route to the pole vault gold in Chennai on Thursday.

Taking another small step in her long journey, Khyathi Vakharia added another gold medal to her collection in her quiet and efficient way on Thursday. She has been the best pole vaulter in the country in recent times and the Karnataka athlete underlined her status with a measure of comfort on the final day of the 57th Open National Athletics Championships.

At the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Khyathi outclassed the field with a 3.90M leap, not a great effort but one that showed she was on the right path in her quest. With already a gold from 4x100M relay in their pocket, Khyathi’s success allowed Karnataka to end with three gold medals, and the second spot in the women’s team championships table.

On a day when 16 finals were staged, there were no records but there were some fine performances, with Ajay Kumar Saroj, G Lakshmanan and L Surya recording double successes. Railways were overall champions once again by a mile, with their success in women’s events driving their untroubled charge.

At the pole vault pit, Khyathi too was untroubled. Starting at 3.60, she cleared all heights without a fuss but came short at 4.00 metres. There was no doubt about the gold though, with Tamil Nadu’s Sathya, at 3.75M, way behind in silver position.

“I am not too happy with this performance, but it is fine, I am working on improving certain things. In the last one year, I have made some changes in my technique and it is falling into place,” said Khyathi, known as the vaulting doctor.

The 28-year-old, training under former Olympic champion Stacy Dragila’s coach Greg Hull in Phoenix, Arizona, has cleared four metres three times this year, with a personal best of 4.10 at Mesa, United States, in April. “I am using a shorter pole and getting used to it, the attempt is to be a pole vaulter rather than one who just takes the pole and jumps,” she said, hoping to qualify for the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year.

Karnataka’s other gold came from the quartet of Apsana Begum, Prajna Prakash, M G Padmini and H M Jyothi in the 4x100M relay. They timed 46.28 seconds to come ahead of Railways and Tamil Nadu.

The Asian champion in the 1500M, Ajay Saroj ran a well-judged race to claim the 800M in 1:49.05. He had won his pet event in a career-best time on the second day.

Lakshmanan and Surya, the 5000M champions, expectedly won the 10000M gold medals to complete a familiar routine. Railways, meanwhile, amassed 296 points for the overall title, followed by Services at 182. Tamil Nadu’s T Santhosh Kumar and Railway’s Chinta Yadav were adjudged the best athletes.

DH News Service

Results: Men: 200M: Vidya Sagar (Services) 21.46 seconds, 1; Parveen (Haryana) 21.49, 2; K Ashok (Services) 21.53, 3. 800M: Ajay Kumar Saroj (Railways) 1:49.05, 1; Mohd Afsal (Services) 1:49.16, 2; Vishwamber Kolekar (Railways) 1:50.18, 3. 10000M: G Lakshmanan (Services) 29:16.21, 1; Vasudev Nishad (Railways) 29:32.77, 2; Suresh Kumar (ONGC) 29:45.41, 3. Triple jump: Sreejithmon K (Kerala) 16.15 metres, 1; Rakesh Babu (Services) 16.06, 2; Arpinder Singh (ONGC) 16.06, 3. Hammer throw: Neeraj Kumar (Services) 65.42 metres, 1; Ashish Jakhar (Haryana) 64.00, 2; Sukhdev Singh (Railways) 63.38, 3. 4×100 relay: Services 40.17 seconds, 1; Tamil Nadu 40.94, 2; Police 41.08, 3. 4×400 relay: Haryana 3:10.55, 1; Andhra Pradesh 3:11.74, 2; Uttar Pradesh 3:13.32, 3.

Women: 200M: Hima Das (Assam) 24.26 seconds, 1; S Archana (Tamil Nadu) 24.33, 2; Anwesha Roy Pradhan (Bengal) 24.56, 3. 800M: Lili Das (Railways) 2:04.51, 1; Sipra Sarkar (Bengal) 2:05.85, 2; Komal Chaudhary (Railways) 2:06.45, 3. 10000M: L Surya (Railways) 32:42.62, 1; Parul Chaudhary (Railways) 33:43.07, 2; Saigeeta Naik (Police) 34:54.93, 3. Pole vault: Khyathi Vakharia (Karnataka) 3.90 metres, 1; Sathya (Tamil Nadu) 3.75, 2; Dija Chandran (Railways) 3.70, 3. Discus: Kamalpreet Kaur (Railways) 54.25 metres, 1; Navjeet Kaur (Railways) 53.20, 2; Baljit Kaur (Police) 45.95, 3. 20km walk: Priyanka (ONGC) 1:40:43.00, 1; Ravina (Haryana) 1:43:39.00, 2; L Deepmala Devi (Railways) 1:43:50.00, 3. Heptathlon: Purnima Hembram (Railways) 5126 points, 1; Sowmya (Railways) 4950, 2; Ava Khatun (Bengal) 4855, 3. 4x100M relay: Karnataka (Apsana Begum, Prajna Prakash, M G Padmini, H M Jyothi) 46.28, 1; Railways 46.48, 2; Tamil Nadu 46.66, 3. 4x400M relay: ONGC 3:38.81, 1; Railways 3:40.13, 2; Karnataka 3:42.67, 3.

Overall championships: Railways (296 points) 1; Services (182) 2. Best athletes: Men: Santosh Kumar (Tamil Nadu, 400M hurdles). Women: Chinta Yadav (Railways, 3000M steeplechase).

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