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November 23, 2001
Beenamol erases P T Usha's record
Ace quarter-miler K M Beenamol of Kerala set the track ablaze, erasing sprint queen P T Usha's 400 metres record as six meet records were re-written on the fourth day of competition in the athletics event at the National Games in Ludhiana on Friday.
The lanky Beenamol relied on her experience and form to leave her rivals well behind and clinch the gold medal in the strenuous one-lap race on an eventful day, which saw many relatively new faces grabbing the limelight with record-breaking efforts.
Beenamol timed 52.71 seconds to imrove upon the 52.80 seconds achieved by her illustrious predecessor in 1995.
Tamil Nadu's Anju B George also had her share of fame as she set a new meet record in women's long jump while Orissa's Anuradha Biswal bagged the first gold for her team by taking the honour in the women's 110 metres hurdles.
Bengal's Soma Biswas (heptathlon) and Punjab's Gurpreet Singh (men's 100m hurdles) and Karamjit Kaur (women's pole vault) were the other star performers as they forced their way into the record manuals.
Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu shared the spoils, picking two gold medals out of the ten on offer on Friday. Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Bengal won a gold each.
Punjab and Kerala were jointly atop the medals table in the athletics event with six gold each while Tamil Nadu occupied the second position with five golds medals followed by Services, who have three gold in their kitty.
Quarter-miler Beenamol, who has done reasonably well for the country in international meets, became the star attraction with a record-shattering effort in the women's 400 metres run which was dominated by the Kerala contingent.
Manoj Lal of Kerala claimed the honour in the men's 400 m outracing statemate and favourite P Ramachandran, who finished well behind him. Manoj Lal clocked 47.05 seconds while Ramachandran had to be content with the silver, with a timing of 47.63 seconds.
Tamil Nadu's Anju B George gave her team something to cheer about, creating a new meet record in the women's long jump event which boasted of a strong field.
Anju leaped to a distance of 6.61 metres to erase Lekha Thomas's record of 6.24 metres, set in the 1995 edition of the Games. The two Kerala jumpers Jetty Joseph and G G Promilla won the silver and bronze respectively.
Unheralded Suman Devi of Uttar Pradesh clinched the gold medal in the women's javelin event with an effort of 48.59 metres, falling well short of the meet record.
Bengal's Soma Biswas, who has shown tremendous improvement in the last few months, established a new record in the heptathlon, accumulating a total of 5445 points.
Orissa's talented Anuradha Biswal set a new meet record in the women's 100 metres hurdles as she fetched the first gold medal for her state in the Games.
Capitalising on a flying start, the Orissa youngster finished the race with a timing of 13.81 seconds, eclipsing the previous record of Karnataka's M K Asha, who recorded a timing of 13.89 seconds.
The men's 110 metres hurdles also saw a new meet record being established, with Punjab's Gurpreet Singh stealing the honour by clocking 14.10 seconds while favourite P T Yesudas of Kerala had to be content with the silver medal.
Gurpreet, who helped the strong Punjab contingent increase their medal tally in the showpiece athletic event, erased the previous record 14.59 seconds which stood in the name Ngjit Singh.
Punjab's Karamjit Kaur also brought chee for the hosts, setting a new meet record in the women's pole vault. She cleared a height of 3.25 metres with none of her opponents really matching her ability.
The silver medal in the event went to Tamil Nadu's B S Suekha, who cleared 2.70 metres, while Chetri Solanki of Gujarat had to rest content with the bronze, with an effort of 2.60 metres.
The Tamil Nadu team, comprising K N Priya, V Pandeshwari, M K Syamanthakam and V Jayalakshmi, took home the gold in the women's 4x100 metres relay. Delhi, comprising Dinesh Rawat, Paramjit Singh, Sandeep Sarkaria and Piyush Kumar, bagged the gold in the men's 4x100 metres relay.
Mail Sports Editor
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