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Raut creates history with 10,000m bronze

Last updated on: October 08, 2010 22:30 IST

- Images from the Games: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Medals Tally

Kavita Raut on Friday created history when she bagged the bronze in the 10,00 metres to become the first Indian woman to win an individual medal in track events at the Commonwealth Games

She clocked 33:05.28 seconds.

Before the Games, not many gave Raut much of a chance, but she proved everyone wrong by opening India's account in track and field events at the Delhi Games.

Raut's bronze-winning effort though was below her personal and season's best of 32:41.31s.

Before Raut's feat, the women's 4x400m relay team had won silver fours years ago in Melbourne, where long jumper Anju Bobby George and discus thrower Seema Antil had bagged silver and bronze respectively in field events.

Incidentally, Raut's bronze is only the 10th medal for India in athletics in the history of the Commonwealth Games.

Kavita RautThe gold was won by Grace Kwamboka Momanti of Kenya, who clocked 32:34.11s, while her compatriot Doris Changeywo bagged the silver with a timing of 32:36.97s.

Momanti had finished fourth in the 2009 Berlin World Championships.

Two other Indians in the fray, national record holder Preeja Sreedharan and Lalita Babar finished a disappointing seventh and eighth respectively.

Preeja ran 33:43.91s, much below her national record timing of 32:04.41s, while Babar clocked 35:03.49s in the field of eight.

Raut and Preeja were together in front of the pack at the halfway mark before the two Kenyans took the lead.

By the 8000m mark it was clear that the two Kenyans would finish first and second as they, running together, had taken a huge lead over the others. It was a question of which athlete, between Raut and Charlottee Purdue of England, would win the bronze.

But with two laps to go, Raut began to surge ahead and in the last lap she left behind the Englishwoman, who clocked 33:13.02s, and the Indian crossed the finishing line with her hands raised in front of the big crowd.

 Raut ran a lap of honour with the tri-colour wrapped around her body before embracing compatriot Preeja.

"I am so happy that I have done my country proud. I have worked hard with the aim that I can do it (win a medal)," she said.

"It was a tough race. Though I could not do my best I have won a medal for the country," said the 25-year-old from Maharashtra.

National coach Bahadur Singh said he was expecting Raut to win a medal.

"Raut and Preeja are also 32 minute runners and so I was expecting a medal," he said.

Raut's coach Nikolai Snesarev from Belarus said his ward's bronze was an enormous achievement for the country, considering that competition in the Commonwealth Games is always world-class.

"It was an enormous achievement as competition in the Commonwealth Games is very tough with athletes from middle distance powerhouses like Kenya, Uganda are there. I have always felt that India can do well in middle distance race," he added.

Before Raut's historic win, Maliakkal Prajusha gave hopes of winning a medal in women's triple jump, only to finish fourth though she created a new national record.

The 20,000-odd crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium waited in bated breath with the expectation that 23-year-old Prajusha could land India's first medal after she surged to fourth spot in her fourth jump with 13.72m, which is four centimeters more than the other Indian in the fray, Mayookha Johny's earlier national record of 13.68m.

Prajusha, whose personal best was 13.54m, could not improve the distance in her next three efforts and finished fourth with 13.72m while Johny ended seventh with 13.58m.

Trecia Smith of Jamaica defended her gold she won in Melbourne with a season's best jump of 14.19m while Alexander Ayanna (13.91m) of Trinidad and Tobago bagged the silver.

Charles Tabia of Canada won the bronze after jumping 13.84m.

Prajusha later said that she thought she was in for a medal after jumping to fourth but failed to improve her performance in the last two jumps.

"I was thinking I could go for a medal as I know I could jump 14m but it did not happen. I am happy that I had created a new national record. Now my focus is on the Asian Games," she said, adding that she will also compete in the long jump.

Johny, on the other hand, said she injured her right ankle in the first of the six jumps itself and so she could not give her best.

"I injured my right ankle in the first jump so I could not give my best. My target was to get a medal as I can do in the range of 13.75 to 14.20m," she said.

"I am going to participate in the long jump as right leg is not the leading leg," Johny added.