Bhopal, IndiaThe last two days of the 14th Federation Cup championships (28-29 Feb) produced no marks matching Olympic standards, but there was a notable personal best for long jumper Mayookha Johny as she touched 6.32 metres to win the gold in a field that did not have national record holder Anju George.
Johny thus completed a double having won the Triple Jump title earlier, also in a personal best 13.34 metres. The shy, 19-year-old girl from Kozhikode, Kerala, who had competed in the 2006 Asian Junior Championships in Macau, finishing sixth in Triple Jump (12.29) wants to emulate George who also hails from the Southern State of Kerala.
With her latest mark, Johny has moved into the joint fifth spot among women long jumpers in India with Soma Biswas, behind Anju George (6.83), J. J. Shobha (6.66), Pramila Ganapathy (6.54) and Lekha Thomas (6.33).
George did not make it to Bhopal, though she was initially tipped to compete. With the South Asian Championships in Kochi just a week away, George was said to be concentrating on a good beginning to her outdoor campaign.
There were spirited efforts by the middle distance and distance runners, though all of them fell way behind the Olympic standards that they were aiming for. Chatholi Hamza not only failed to touch the standard in the 1500 metres (3:39.00) but was also beaten a second time in a week by the younger Ravinder Bharadwaj.
Hamza complained of lack of training and rest since competing in the Asian Indoor Championships in Doha last month. Coach Nikolai Snesarev pointed out that the rising temperatures had proved a handicap to most of his wards.
The afternoon heat also precluded a sub-29 finish for Armyman Surendra Singh in the 10,000 metres. He had to push himself hard without much opposition in a field of 15 runners but in the end found the Olympic standard (28:10.00) too tough a task to accomplish. Surendra Singh timed 29:52.69. Incidentally, the Indian record in the name of Hari Chand (28:48.72) has stood since the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
There could have been some anticipation of the women discus throwers achieving the Olympics standards, but once again, as at Patiala the previous week, they were disappointing. If anything, the performance levels came down a notch, with Seema Antil (national record holder at 64.64) winning with a modest 57.54 and Harwant Kaur taking the silver with 56.16. Former National record holder Neelam J. Singh finished fourth with just 47.10 metres.
"I don't know what happens in a competition. But I am confident of attaining the qualification mark," said Antil. She had a surprise gold in the shot put competition also, with a best of 14.17 metres that beat favourite Saroj Sihag (13.64) quite comprehensively. "I do compete in shot put occasionally for the sake of my department (Police), but discus remains my top priority," said Antil.
With the selection of the women's 4x400 metres relay team for the South Asian Championships dependent on performance in this meet, there were keen contests in the 400 metres heats. Three of the Olympic probables, Sini Jose, Iylene Samantha and V. Leelavathy were eliminated in the heats.
In the final, Chitra Soman once again asserted herself, though with a poorer timing than what she had clocked at Patiala, 53.59 seconds compared to her 53.19 finish in the previous meet. Mandeep Kaur took the silver while Satti Geetha, making a comeback after being away from top-level competitions last year, took a surprise bronze. The National record holder, Manjeet Kaur, ended fourth in 54.82 seconds.
On a comeback from injury, Maha Singh claimed the men's Long Jump gold with a final round jump of 7.57 metres. He had pushed into the lead in the fifth round with 7.52. National record (8.08) holder Amritpal Singh took third with 7.42 metres, two centimeters behind Pushpendra Singh, a relatively unknown jumper at this level. The field also included Sanjay Kumar Rai, one of four Indians to have crossed eight metres, but he finished fifth with 7.35 metres.
"This was my first competition off a full run-up in more than three months and I should come up in the coming months," said Maha Singh, who has a personal best of 7.99 metres.
Sudha Singh posted the lone championship record, clocking 10:29.92 in the women's 3000m Steeplechase. She had none to challenge her in an event that is yet to attain modest standards in the country. Sudha holds the national record of 10:18.76, clocked at last year's Open National Championships in Jamshedpur.
Kuldev Singh (50.48 in 400m Hrdles) and Sinimole Paulose (2:03.25 in 800 metres) were adjudged the 'best athletes' among men and women respectively, based on the points they scored on the IAAF scoring tables.
The Army team won the team championship among men while the State team from Jharkhand took the women's –team title.
Results (last two days, 28-29 Feb):
400m: 1. Virender Kumar Pankaj 47.10, 2. P. Shankar 47.40, 3. V. B. Bineesh 47.52
1500m: 1. Ravinder Bharadwaj 3:52.01, 2. C. Hamza 3:52.38, 3. Pritam Bind 3:52.66
10,000m: 1. Surendra Singh 29:52.69, 2. Santosh Kumar 30:10.91, 3. Soji Mathew 30:29.42
3000m steeplechase: 1. Om Prakash 8:53.54, 2. Arun De Souza 9:00.91, 3. Elam Singh 9:01.12
110m hurdles: 1. Krishna Mohan 14.27, 2. P. Muthusamy 14.37, 3. D. Prasad 14.70
High jump: 1. Hari Sankar Roy 2.15, 2. Benedict Starli 2.11, 3. L. Yograj 2.08
Pole vault: 1. Gajanan Upadhyay 4.90, 2. Bimin K. P. 4.80, 3. Sunder Singh 4.60
Long jump: 1. Maha Singh 7.57, 2. Pushpender Singh 7.44, 3. Amritpal Singh 7.42
Discus: 1. Simranjit Singh 51.00, 2. Sukhbir Singh 49.89, 3. Rambir Singh 49.52
Shot put: 1. Om Prakash 18.44, 2. P. B. Giri 17.66, 3. Satyendra Kumar Singh 17.47
Decathlon: 1. Daya Ram 6511 points, 2. Raneesh V.V. 5774, 3. G. Kosalanath 5768
4x100m relay: 1. Jharkhand 41.12, 2. Army 42.66, 3. Kerala 42.88
4x400m relay: 1. Army 3:18.60, 2. BSNL 3:18.87, 3. Tamil Nadu 3:19.66.
400m: 1. Chitra Soman 53.59, 2. Mandeep Kaur 53.88, 3. S. Geetha 54.23
1500m: 1. Sinimole Paulose 4:23.71, 2. Bindu S. R. 4:33.75, Priyanka Patel 4:34.22
10,000m: 1. Preeja Sreedharan 36:36.22, 2. Kavita Raut 37:03.96, 3. Preethi Rao 38:07.17
3000m steeplechase: 1. Sudha Singh 10:29.92 (Championship record, previous 10:44.76), 2. Rajshree Patel 10:50.99, 3. Kamlesh Baghel 11:01.07
Long jump: 1. Mayookha Johny 6.32, 2. J. J. Shobha 6.22, 3. Prajusha M. A. 6.19
Shot put: 1. Seema Antil 14.17, 2. Saroj Sihag 13.64, 3. Patwant Kaur 12.64
Discus: 1. Seema Antil 57.54, 2. Harwant Kaur 56.16,3. Saroj Sihag 48.79
Hammer: 1. Sukanya Mishra 49.33, 2.Gunjan Singh 47.72, 3. Vipin Kumari 47.57
Javelin: 1. Suman Devi 46.28, 2. Gurpreet Kaur 45.05, 3. Chunki Chaudhary 42.78
20,000m walk: 1. Y. Bala Devi 1:43:33.69, 2. L. Deepmala Devi 1:46:45.53, 3. Sandhya K.J. 1:57:21.58
4x100m relay: 1. Andhra Pradesh 47.34, 2. Kerala 47.40, 3. Jharkhand 49.60
4x400m relay: 1. Andhra Pradesh 3:4870, 2. Kerala 3:50.72, 3. West Bengal 4:08.14.