hold – vt – Inderjeet, Chand, Babar clinch gold at national athletics

Kolkata, Sep 17 (IANS) Three of India’s top athletes did not disappoint on the second day of the 55th National Open Athletic Championship as Lalita Babar, Inderjeet Singh and Dutee Chand clinched gold in their respective events at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre here on Thursday.

In the women’s 3,000-metre steeplechase, Railways athlete Babar was by far the strongest as she clocked 9:39.83, registering a new meet record and beating the previous mark of 10:8:50 set by Sudha Singh last year. Singh came second this time around with a timing of 9:47:31.

Chand marked her return to the nationals by laying her hands on the coveted gold in women’s 100m sprint. She did not start off well, but was at her best in the last few metres as she edged past rival Srabani Nanda, who stood second.

Chand clocked 11.68 seconds, just ahead of Nanda who crossed the line in 11.70 seconds. The Railways athlete, however, fell short of the Olympic qualifying mark of 11.32 seconds.

Earlier in the heats conducted on Wednesday, too, Dutee was a notch above the rest.

The sprinter was banned last year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as her body produced testosterone at levels which were deemed higher than the accepted limit for women sportspersons.

But the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in July cleared the sprinter by suspending the ‘hyperandrogenism’ rules, which may also be scrapped if the IAAF fails to provide evidence.

Shot putter Inderjeet too had a good day in office as he was a par above the rest in his event, clinching the gold medal with a meet record of 19.82m.

He broke the previous record of 19.59m set by Bahadur Singh in 2003. Om Prakash Singh managed to pocket the second position with a throw of 17.96m. Tajinder Singh got hold of the bronze with 17.87m.

In men’s javelin throw, Neeraj Chopra bagged the meet record with a 77.67m throw, going past the previous best of 77.39m which was set in 2002 by Harminder Singh. However, it was quite far from the Olympic qualifying mark of 83m.

Even though Railways, Services and ONGC dominated on the second day, other states like West Bengal put up with some good performances, bagging three medals.

All three medals claimed by hosts West Bengal on Thurday came in the women’s section. Sugandha Kumari and Lily Das clinched gold and bronze respectively in the 1500m while Debashree Majumdar took silver in the 400m.

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