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Encouraging signs in Indian Juniors

Exhibiting excellent athleticism Virendra Kumar Pankaj of Uttar Pradesh delivered the finest performance of the 22nd National inter-state junior championships which concluded in Bangalore, India on Wednesday evening (29 Nov).
Clocking 46.99 in the junior men’s 400m, the Allahabad sports hostel trainee improved upon his previous best of 47.16, which he set while winning the junior FedCup at Chennai this July. India has a long tradition in this event ever since the days of the legendary Milkha Singh, the 440 yards winner at Commonwealth Games in 1958, who barely missed a bronze medal in the Rome Olympics two years later. 
The junior men's section also witnessed the upcoming athletes like Sajeesh Joseph (800m), Ravinder (1500m) and Kashinath Aswale (5000m), all bettered the previous meet marks in their respective events.
Several new stars surfaced in the Bangalore meet, especially in the younger age-groups.  Kerala’s Shejil Varghese obliterated the national youth mark with a timing of 53.14 in 400m Hurdles. Delhi shot putter Sanjeev Rathi tossed the iron ball to a new distance of 18.45m, while another Keralite A. Mubarak 5364 points in Octathlon.
The under-16 age group saw Mohammed Fayaz of Tamil Nadu sprinted to 100m in 11.03 for boys, while his team-mate Gayathri registered 14.70 for 100m Hurdles in the girls division for new national records.
Newly spotted talents from the champion state of Kerala are 800m runners Chinchu Jose (GU-16) and Tintu Luka (GU-18) as well as triple jumper Mayookha Johny and hammer thrower Anitha Abraham (GU-20).
Rajasthan’s Manju Bala in U18 Hammer Throw (50.06m) and Bengal’s half-miler Jhuma Khatun, semifinalist in last year’s World Youth Championships, in junior women’s 800m (2:09.99) have also returned notable marks in the five day meet at Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
Ram. Murali Krishnan for the IAAF
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