Bhubaneswar: Abdulla Aboobacker and Karthik Unnikrishnan became only the third and fourth Indian Triple Jumpers to break the 17m mark when the Kerala athletes took the top two places with 17.19m and 17.10m respectively in a dramatic contest in the Indian Grand Prix 3 Athletics Competition at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.
On an evening in which he fouled three of his first four jumps, 26-year-old Abdulla Aboobacker found the rhythm, the pace and the elevation to be able to improve his personal best by 35cm with his fifth try to win his maiden gold in an AFI competition in the senior ranks. His Air Force colleague, 28-year-old Karthik Unnikrishnan breached the 17m on his sixth and final try.
Eldhose Paul, who was leading the competition for four rounds, was unable to match his Kerala team-mates and settled for bronze. The trio served a delightful treat to fans, but it was Abdulla Aboobacker who met the World Championships qualifying mark.
The first Indian in the 17m Club, Renjith Maheshwary pegged the National Record at 17.30m on July 11, 2016, in Bengaluru. Arpinder Singh’s 17.09m effort on June 29, 2018 in Guwahati was the last time an Indian celebrated breaching the 17m mark. Of course, Eldhose Paul missed that by a mere centimeter in the Federation Cup in Kozhikode on April 6.
Earlier, 31-year-old athletes Srabani Nanda (Odisha) and Sarita Romit Singh (Uttar Pradesh) won the women’s 200m and Hammer Throw events respectively comfortably to claim most of the early limelight.
Srabani Nanda, running her first National-level race on home soil since June 2018, brooked no challenge, though Rajashree Prasad (West Bengal) looked like she would keep pace. However, the sprinter from Bengal slowed down and finished third behind Sonia (Haryana). Though Srabani Nanda has run faster this year, she finished in a good time of 24.04 seconds.
Sarita Romit Singh showed consistency, winning her third event this year with a best throw over 61.41m. Though she was short of her best throw of the season – 64.16m in the Federation Cup in Kozhikode last month – she had reason to be happy that each of her four legal efforts on Saturday went past the 60m mark.
Akshay Annappa Shetty (Maharashtra) claimed his first major national-level title when he won the men’s 200m in 21.86 seconds. Having eased past home favorite Amiya Mallick in Race A, he had to wait to confirm his victory. Aryan Ekka, an Odisha teenager, dipped under 22 seconds for the first time in winning Race B but was one-hundredth of a second behind Akshay Shetty.
200m (best of races A and B): 1. Akshay Annappa Shetty (Maharashtra) 21.86 seconds; 2. Aryan Ekka (Odisha) 21.87; 3. Amiya Mallick (Odisha) 22.00.
800m (best of races A and B): 1. Krishan Kumar (Haryana) 1:47.92; 2. Ankesh Chaudhary (Himachal Pradesh) 1:48.14; 3. Pradeep Senthil Kumar (Tamil Nadu) 1:49.01.
5000m: 1. Abhishek Pal (Uttar Pradesh) 14:27.59; 2. Kartik Kumar (Uttar Pradesh) 14:27.73; 3. Gulveer Singh (Uttar Pradesh) 14:27.82.
110m Hurdles: 1. Yashwanth Kumar Laveti (Andhra Pradesh) 14.61 seconds; 2. Prem Kumar (Tamil Nadu) 14.70; 3. P Veeramani (Tamil Nadu) 14.83.
Pole Vault: 1. G Deenadayalan (Tamil Nadu) 4.60m; 2. Bineesh Jacob (Kerala) and Manish Singh (Haryana).
High Jump: 1. Sarvesh Anil Kushare (Maharashtra) 2.21m; 2. Jesse Sandesh (Karnataka) 2.18; 3. Swadhin Kumar Majhi (Odisha) 2.05.
Shot Put: 1. Karanveer Singh (Punjab) 19.67m; 2. Inderjeet Singh (Haryana) 17.99; 3. Dhanvir Singh (Punjab) 17.87.
200m: 1. Srabani Nanda (Odisha) 24.04 seconds; 2. Sonia (Haryana) 24.82; 3. Rajashree Prasad (West Bengal) 25.00.
800m: 1. Lili Das (West Bengal) 2:10.72; 2. Snehalata Yadav (Uttar Pradesh) 2:17.26; 3. Laxmipriya Kisan (Odisha) 2:17.39.
5000m: 1. Sanjivani Baburao Jadhav (Maharashtra) 15:56.74; 2. Kavita Yadav (Uttar Pradesh) 16:38.05; 3. Arati Patil (Maharashtra) 18:29.26.
High Jump: 1. Gracena Merly (Tamil Nadu) 1.75m; 2. Rubina Yadav (Haryana) 1.75.
Triple Jump: 1. Mallala Anusha (Andhra Pradesh) 12.90m; 2. Poorva Hitesh Sawant (Maharashtra) 12.60; 3. Sharvar Avinash Parulekar (Maharashtra) 12.26.
Shot Put: 1. Manpreet Kaur (Haryana) 16.81m; 2. Abha Khatua (Maharashtra) 16.60; 3. Kachnar Chaudhary (Rajasthan) 14.99.
Discus Throw: 1. Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (Punjab) 58.03m; 2. Seema Punia (Uttar Pradesh) 55.97; 3. Nidhi Rani (Haryana) 52.63.
Hammer Throw: 1. Sarita Romit Singh (Uttar Pradesh) 61.41m; 2. Sneha Suryakanat Jadhav (Maharashtra) 51.46; 3. Sneha (Haryana) 36.64.