Basarkar, Gujar, Dravid prove to be fastest on opening day

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Pune, May 11 (UNI) International player Deepak Basarkar of Pune, in boys under-20 category, along with Satara's Annirudha Gujar and Pune's Sayali Dravid, in boys and girls under-18 category, burnt the Baburao Sanas track to become the fastest, by winning the respective 100 meters sprint event of the two-day State Athletic Selection Trials, which got underway here today.

The trials assume importance as they serve as barometer for host Maharashtra athletes to earn their place in the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG). The meet will also be the basis to select Maharashtra squad for the under-18 Youth National Athletic Championship and also for the Under-20 players, to take part in the Junior Federation Athletic Championship to be held here from May 22 to 24.

The Indian under-20 squad will be selected on the basis of their performance at the Pune meet, to take part in the Junior Asian Athletic Championship to be held at Jakarta from June 6.

Deepak Basarkar won the 100 meters dash, stopping the clock at 10.80 seconds in the boys under-20 section. Gujar needed 10.87 to capture the gold for boys under-18, while Sayali Dravid won the corresponding girls event in a time of 12.43 seconds.

The days highlight, however, was captured by the Asian cross country team gold medalist Swati Gadhve, who got the better of seasoned long distance runner Monica Raut of Sangli, bagging the gold in the demanding 5,000 meters race for girls under-18. The 12.5 lap race saw Monica leading, but Swati despite nursing a knee injury made her move with a last minute sprint to win by over 50 meters, leaving Monica in her stride.

Long distance ace Neelam Kadam of Raigadh produced a dazzling performance and recorded a fine double, winning 1,500 and 5,000 meters events respectively, in the girls under-20 section.

As expected, Shriya Vidwans claimed the gold, winning the 400 meters event for the girls under-18, while SAF Games champ Dhiraj Mishra won the triple jump event for the boys under-18 as well.

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