TN’s Praveen steals the show

In the women’s 200m final, Tamil Nadu’s S Dhanalakshmi (23.27 seconds) pipped Hima Das (23.29s) of Assam by the barest of margins. Finishing behind them was Aishwarya Kailash Mishra from Maharashtra, who recorded a timing of 23.72s.
TN’s Praveen steals the show
Praveen ChithravelTwitter

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu triple jumper Praveen Chithravel enjoyed his day of days at the National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.

On the fifth and final day – Tuesday – Praveen not only secured the men’s triple jump gold medal but also broke the meet record and punched his ticket to the World Championships in Oregon, the USA, next month. By coming up with a best effort of 17.18 metres on his second attempt, the 21-year-old shattered the meet record that was previously owned by Arpinder Singh (17.17m in 2014).

The World Championships qualifying mark had been set at 17.14m. On the podium, Praveen was flanked by the Kerala duo of silver medallist Abdulla Aboobacker (17.14m) and the third-placed Eldhose Paul (16.81m).

After posting an emphatic triumph, Praveen revealed that he had not trained in the run-up to the meet due to a heel issue. “When I competed in Italy (at the Castiglione International Meet in Grosseto in May), I injured my left heel. I tried to go for a big jump and in the process, I injured my heel. I could not even walk. The physiotherapists at the JSW Inspire Institute of Sport in Bellary helped me prepare for this meet. I did not jump in the last two weeks. I did not have any expectations since I did not train,” said Praveen.

In the women’s 200m final, Tamil Nadu’s S Dhanalakshmi (23.27 seconds) pipped Hima Das (23.29s) of Assam by the barest of margins. Finishing behind them was Aishwarya Kailash Mishra from Maharashtra, who recorded a timing of 23.72s.

“I have been training with Hima at the Indian camp. We have together participated at a number of competitions. I worked really hard for this gold medal,” said the 24-year-old Dhanalakshmi, who was rested for 100m since she had already attained Birmingham Commonwealth Games qualification in that event.

Meanwhile, in women’s 400m hurdles, Tamil Nadu athlete R Vithya Ramraj (57.08s) silenced her critics with a gold medal-winning performance. While Kerala’s R Anu (58.99s) took the second spot, her statemate R Arathi (59.26s) crossed the finish line third.

“Although I am part of the Indian camp, I did not travel with the team to Turkey. It was because of the false start that I made at the Federation Cup (in Calicut in April). Some think that I am not good enough. I am happy that I have returned to form,” said Vithya.

Local hope T Santhosh Kumar (50.16s) earned the silver medal in men’s 400m hurdles, with the Tamil Nadu (3:42.39) women’s 4x400m relay quartet finishing second in its final.

Tamil Nadu bags overall title

Tamil Nadu clinched the overall title with 133.5 points while Haryana and Uttar Pradesh finished second and third respectively with 101.5 points and 99 points. Women contributed 75 points for Tamil Nadu, with men collecting 54.5 points.

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