SATINDER CLAIMS GOLD
If it was all agony for 30-year-old Joseph B Abraham of Kerala then it was ecstasy for 25-year-old Satinder Singh of Punjab on the penultimate day of the 52nd National inter-state Senior Athletic championship at GMC Balayogi Stadium on Monday.
The Punjab athlete raced past the pre-race favourite Abraham to clinch the gold in the men’s 400 metres hurdles in 49.99secs. A fumbling and a tired Abraham, who lost steam in the ninth and tenth hurdles, managed to finish second in 50.39 secs. Singh also missed the Olympic qualifying mark which was 49.80secs.
It was a big setback for Abraham, whose hopes for the London Games is getting thinner and thinner. He has one last chance at the Asian All Stars meet next month. “I goofed up,” said Abraham, who was expected to qualify for London in this meet.
But Abraham made a tactical error that could prove costly for him. The Asian Games gold medallist went all out in the Sunday’s race in a bid to touch the ‘B’ Olympic mark. But Joseph could finish the heats in 50.60secs. His best timing this year has been 49.98 at Patiala. The Kerala athlete could not get his rhythm in the final on Monday. He was too tired for the occasion. As a result, Abraham could not get off to a steady start and floundered. Satinder, who had beaten him in the last year’s meet, gave a good fight. It was neck-and-neck before Satinder pulled away from Abraham, who gave up in the ninth hurdle. Even in defeat the smile was there on Abraham’s face.
“I will try and do well in the All Stars meet,” he said. “I think I won a good race. I was very keen to win this race. I beat the favourite to win the gold,” said Satinder.
The women’s 400m was all-Kerala affair as the Palakkad girl R Anu bagged her maiden gold in the senior meet. The Vimala College girl won in 1:00.34 seconds. She beat the challenge of C Raji (1:00.47) and MS Darsana (1:00.93). Manju Bala of Rajasthan was victorious in the women’s hammer throw. She threw the ball to a distance of 58.27 seconds.
Surinder Singh walked away with gold in the men’s 20 km walk in one hour 29 minutes and 32 seconds while Deep Mala Devi took the gold in the women’s section. RESULTS: MEN: 400m hurdles: 1. Satinder Singh (Pun) 49.99s, 2. Joseph G Abraham (Ker), 3. Durgesh Kumar Pal (Mah); 20km walk: 1. Surinder Singh (Pun) 1hr 29m 32.00s. 2. Sandeep Kumar (Haryana), 3. Maniram Patel (MP); 4x100: 1. Tamil Nadu (Vijaya Kumar, Balamurgan, M Argumughall, Al Ameen), 2. Kerala, 3. AP; Pole vault: 1. KP Bimin (Ker) 4.95m, 2. Preeth (TN), 3. Sunder Singh (Har). Long jump: 1. M Arshad (Kar) 7.42m, 2. Prem Kumar (TN), 3. Maha Singh (Pun); Javelin throw: 1. Anil Singh (Delhi) 74.39m, 2. Rajender Singh (Har), 3. Samarjeet Singh (Raj). WOMEN: 400m hurdles : 1. Anu R (Ker) 1:0.34s, 2. Raji C T (Ker), 3. Darsana M S (Ker); 20 km walk: 1. Deep Mala Devi (Jha) 1 hr 44m 55.0s, 2. Ranjana Gupta (MP), 3. Anita Mahala (Raj); Hammer throw: 1. Manju Bala (Raj) 58.27m, 2. Anitha Abraham (Ker) 3. Sarita P (Guj); 4x100m relay: 1. AP, 2. Kerala, 3. Maharashtra.
Satinder Singh (left) sweeps past Joseph G Abraham in the men’s 400m hurdles on Monday