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Binu sets new 400 m national mark

August 21, 2004 11:20 IST
Last Updated: August 21, 2004 17:40 IST

India's K M Binu set a new national mark in the men's 400 metres and qualified for the semi-finals in the one-lap race in the Olympic Games in Athens late on Friday night.

Binu clipped 0.08 secs off the existing four-year-old national mark, set by Paramjit Singh in 2000 at Chennai, while finishing third in his first round heat.

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He qualified as one of the eight fastest runners who failed to figure among the top two in each of the eight preliminary round heats.

The 24-year-old Binu finished in 45.48 seconds, behind heat winner Carlos Santa of Dominican Republic (45.31) and second-placed Lewis Banda of Zimbabwe (45.37).

His best timing was the 45.59 second he clocked in the National Circuit Meet in New Delhi earlier this year which got him a ticket to Athens.

Binu will now aim to become only the fourth Indian male athlete to qualify for a track final in the Olympics following the efforts of Milkha Singh (400m, Rome 1960), Gurbachan Singh Randhawa (110m hurdles, Tokyo 1964) and Sriram Singh (800m, 1976 Montreal).

The three-heat semi-finals are to be held on Saturday.

In heptathlon, J J Sobha was trailing in 12th place, in a field of 34, with 4560 points after five events while Soma Biswas was further behind on the 26th spot (4273).

Leading the pack was world record holder Carolina Kluft of Sweden (5208 points) and Kelly Sotherton of Britain (4879).

Yesterday, Shobha won the third place in heat no. 3, clocking 13.53 seconds, her personal best. Biswas also produced her career-best, lunging 1.70m in high jump on her fifth effort.

In women's discus, Harwant Kaur and Seema Antil narrowly missed qualifying for the final.

Harwant cleared 60.80m in her first attempt to finish seventh in her heat and 13th overall at the Olympic Stadium.

The best 12 finishers, six each from the two heats, made it to the final.

Twenty-year-old national record holder Seema Antil finished one rung lower than Harwant, hurling the discus to a distance of 60.64m in her second attempt after managing 59.93m in her opening try.

The effort was much below her national record of 64.64m, set in Chennai recently.

The third Indian in the fray, veteran Neelam J Singh, produced a best of 60.26m in her maiden attempt to finish ninth in her heat and 18th overall.

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