Dhanalakshmi pips Hima to gold in 200m

Express News Service

KOCHI:  New season, new stories. While a lot of the build-up towards the Indian Grand Prix-1 was about the return of Hima Das after her injury lay-off besides other elite athletes kick-starting their season, it was also a peek into what the future could hold.

Jeswin Aldrin produced a stunning show in the men’s long jump where he came close to M Sreeshankar’s national record while Priya Mohan showed once again why it is hard to overlook her consistent performances with another dominant display in the 400m.

Meanwhile, in the javelin event, a new youngster emerged on the scene with Karnataka’s DP Manu showing that he can throw past the 80m mark with an 82.43m throw to fetch gold at the Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.

In the absence of star jumper Sreeshankar, the next biggest name in the event was Muhammed Anees Yahiya who had gone toe-toe with the national record holder in the Indian Open Jumps Competition earlier this month.

However, it was 20-year-old Jeswin who overshadowed the 26-year-old by coming agonisingly close to the national record of 8.26m. In his first meet of the season, Jeswin produced three jumps above the eight-meter with his best coming in his final attempt.

After producing 8.09m and 8.11m, the Tamil Nadu native reserved his best for last with an 8.20m leap. To give an indication of how far ahead he was of the competition, second-placed Anees only managed a best jump of  7.70m.

“This is just the start of the season for me and I will only get better from here. I do believe I can try and break the national record. I also want to try and qualify for the World Championships. Maybe I can achieve that target in the coming meets,” said Jeswin.

Meanwhile, there was a lot of curiosity on which events Hima would participate in as she returned from injury and the 22-year-old ran only the 200m where she was pipped by Dhanalakshmi Sekar. “The coach decides which events to focus on and the 200m felt the best fit right now to return to action.

I felt I ran a good race and it’s a long season ahead so I’ll try to get stronger with each passing event. Dhanalakshmi also ran a great race and it felt good running beside her,” said Hima. In the men’s 400m run, Amoj Jacob and Noah Nirmal Tom finished first and second respectively as the relay stars eased back into action.  

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