CHENNAI: Local hope Gracena Merly did not disappoint as the Tamil Nadu lass earned the women’s high jump gold medal on the penultimate day – Monday – of the National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.
While many eyes were fixed on the women’s triple jump event that happened simultaneously, Gracena quietly went about her business to bag the yellow metal. Her best effort of 1.82 metres came on her first attempt. She was followed by Rubina Yadav (1.78m) of Haryana and Angel Devasia (1.76m) from Kerala – in that order – in the final.
After emerging victorious, the 22-year-old Gracena said that the path to victory was not easy. “I was close to my personal best effort (1.84m). The track was pretty bad; it is a pretty old track. I lagged a bit in my run-up, so my coach (S Jeya Dhas) asked me to speed up. I felt that I might lose; I was a bit worried. But, I did my best,” Gracena told reporters.
“Since I was unwell for a few days, my training got affected a bit in the last two months. But, I prepared very hard for this meet in the last two weeks. I focused on breaching 1.84m, but I did my best,” added the soft-spoken Gracena, who is pursuing MA English Literature at the Holy Cross College at Nagercoil in Kanniyakumari.
Meanwhile, in women’s discus throw, Karuniya Muthuramalingam (49.24m) bagged the bronze medal, finishing behind gold medal winner Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (55.67m) from Punjab and the second-placed Nidhi Rani (50.86m) of Haryana. In the mixed 4x400m relay final, Tamil Nadu (3:24.51) completed the podium while India ‘B’ (3:18.84) and Karnataka (3:22.45) came first and second respectively.
Aishwarya smashes triple jump NR
B Aishwarya of Karnataka smashed the triple jump national record with a stunning effort of 14.14m. The 24-year-old from Bengaluru bettered Mayookha Johny’s earlier national record of 14.11m, which was set in 2011. Aishwarya touched the national mark on her third attempt. “I was confident that I would break the national triple jump record. I had prepared for it. I hope to break the long jump record (on Tuesday),” Aishwarya said.
“Triple jump is my main event and I do not train much for long jump. But, I can compete in both triple jump and long jump at the [Birmingham] Commonwealth Games. Hopefully, I do well and win medals in the CWG,” added Aishwarya, who on Sunday had come up with the all-time second-best effort by an Indian woman long jumper.