Delhi's Sandeep Sarkaria and Rakhi Saha of West Bengal stole the limelight on the opening day of the ninth Federation Cup athletics championships when they respectively posted thrilling victories in the 100 metres dash for men and women at the G M C Balayogi stadium in Hyderabad on Monday.
Sarkaria, who got off to a good start, maintained a clear lead over the field till the halfway stage, but was challenged in the last few meters by Sanjay Ghosh (Army), who despite coming up with a spirited performance, missed out on the gold by a whisker.
Ghosh finished 0.01 seconds behind Sarkaria.
While the Delhi runner clocked 10.51 secs, Ghosh took 10.52 seconds to breast the finish line.
Piyush Kumar (Delhi) was third with a timing of 10.61 seconds.
Starting off on a promising note, Rakhi too took an early lead but her statemate Mukti put up a good fight as the dash shaped into a neck and neck race at the finish line with Rakhi clocking 12.06 secs to clinch the yellow metal.
Mukti clocked 12.12 seconds.
K M Greeshma of Kerala took the bronze.
Uttar Pradesh's Kuldip Kumar had an easy outing in the men's 1500 metres as he broke away from the pack at the start and led all the ay to win in 3:50.63 seconds.
Pritam Bind (Uttaranchal) timed 3:52.73 seconds to win the silver medal while Sunil Kumar (Haryana) had to be content with the bronze, finishing in 3:52.96 seconds.
Busan Games 800 metres silver medallist Madhuri A Singh (AIESCB), recorded a comfortable win in the women's 1500 metres. She took the gold by clocking 4:26.18 seconds, ahead of Hemalatha of Karnataka (4:32.98) and S Santhi of Tamil Nadu.
Jayaveer Singh's (Army) 18.30 metres effort in the shot put proved too good for the other competitors. Kulwinder Singh of Punjab Police (17.69 metres) placed second and Malkhan Singh (Haryana) third at 17.62 metres.
In the women's discus, favourite Neelam J Singh lived up to her reputation as she hurled the disc to a distance of 58.95 metres to clinch the top place. Harwant Kaur of Punajb Police (56.22 metres) and Seema Antil of CRPF (54.59 metres) took the silver and bronze medals respectively.
In the gruelling men's 10,000 metres, Sivanand of Andhra Pradesh took the gold with a timing of 32:31.32 seconds while L Aruana Devi of West Bengal clocked 36:32.66 seconds for the gold in the corresponding race for women.
Sivanand, who won the gold in the first edition of the Asian Grand Prix in the 3,000 metres though had a confident start, Baliram Disale (Maha) overtook him with six laps to go. Though the race was neck and neck in the next few laps, Sivanand stepped on the gas in the last lap to finish ahead of Disale, who clocked 32:33.94 seconds. Mathew Soji of Kerala took the bronze in 32:34.93 seconds.
L Aruna Devi was hardly challenged by any of her rivals and won the women's 10,000 metres in 36:32.66 seconds. Ashwini Dukanmder (Maharashtra) and Basanthi Biswas (West Bengal) finished second and third respectively.