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Amritpal Singh lowers 30-year mark

March 16, 2004 21:02 IST

Amritpal Singh erased the legendary T C Yohannan's 30-year-old national record in the men's long jump, leaping to a distance of 8.08 metres in front of a small crowd, on the opening day of the tenth Federation Cup Athletics Championships at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Delhi on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old Amritpal, an Assistant Sub-Inspector with Punjab Police, is only the third Indian to go beyond the magical eight-metre mark.

The youngster from Sangrur with flowing hair blew kisses to the crowd and jumped up in joy after he broke one of the longest standing records in Indian athletics -- the 8.07 metre mark set by Yohannan while winning the gold in the Tehran Asian Games on September 12, 1974. India also won the bronze in that Asiad through Satish Pillai.

The other Indian to equal the eight-metre mark was Sanjay Kumar Rai of Uttar Pradesh.

Amritpal began with 7.54m and soon crossed the eight-metre mark with an 8.05m jump on his third attempt. He again leaped to 8.05m in his next jump before producing the record-breaking effort on his fifth attempt.

He went all out in his last try but lost his stride before the take-off board and ended with a 6.51m effort.

"I am very happy. When I came here I had this feeling that I will set a new record," he said.

Amritpal's coach, S S Pannu, who has been training him at the Speed Fund Academy in Ludhiana since 1999, said he was expecting his ward to leap to 8.10m.

"I was sure that he will set a new record. I was expecting this last year when he touched 7.98m in the Police Games," said Pannu.

The second place went to Haryana's Maha Singh, who was a good 40 centimetres behind, with 7.67m. V Ashok Kumar of Tamil Nadu won the bronze, clearing 7.34m.

Amritpal's record-breaking effort overshadowed all the other finals, which included Delhi's Piyush Kumar emerging as the fastest athlete while creating a new meet record of 10.35 seconds in the men's 100 metres.

Kumar broke Anand Menezes's 10.49 seconds mark, set in 2002.

Vilas Nilgund of Karnataka (10.42s) and H Jayachandran of Tamil Nadu (10.52s) won silver and bronze respectively.

Delhi bagged a double when Poonam Tomar emerged the fastest female, clocking 11.83 seconds in the women's 100 metres dash.

K N Priya of Tamil Nadu took the silver with a time of 12.13 seconds and Bengal's Rakhi Saha the bronze in 12.45 seconds.

The men's pole vault also saw a new meet record when Kerala's Geesh Kumar soared to 4.95 metres to win the gold.

Kumar improved upon his own mark of 4.90 metres, set last year in Hyderabad.

Jatinder Kumar and Gajanan K Upadhyay of UP both cleared 4.80 metres to share the second spot.

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