The New Indian Express - - PLAY - By N Ja­gan­nath Das

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

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