Railways dominate on Day 1 of National Open Athletics Championship

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Kochi, Sep 8 (UNI) Reigning champions Railways established early dominance on Day 1 of the 48th National Open Athletics Championship at the Maharaja's College Stadium here today, bagging four of the six golds, including in 100m men.

B G Nagaraj of Railways clocked a time of 10.74 seconds in the 100 m to emerge as the fastest male athlete on the synthetic track of the Maharaja's Ground. Abdul Najeeb Qureshi of Andhra Pradesh got the silver, clocking 10.84 seconds while Ganesh Satpute of Railways got the bronze with 10.85 seconds.

H M Jyothi of Andhra Pradesh emerged the fastest woman with a time of 11.90 seconds while Kerala's P K Priya brought cheers to the home crowd, bagging the silver with 12.24 seconds. Andhra's N Sudha claimed the bronze with 12.44 seconds.

Olympian Renjith Maheswary, representing Railways, leapt to the gold in the Triple Jump event, clearing a distance of 15.91 meters after covering 15.83 meters in the first jump.

The Olympian however expressed disatisfaction with his performance, stating that the heavy rains did now allow him to warm up properly.

In the Women's Discus Throw, Railways' Krishna Pooniya bagged the gold with 54.51 meters while Seena Antil and Saroj Sihag, both of Police, bagged the silver and bronze with a distance of 51.32 and 49.52 meters respectively.

Earlier in the day, long distance runner Preeja Sreedharan of the Railways struck gold in the 10,000m. The national record holder had an easy run clocking 34:13.4 with Kavitha Raut of ONGC coming a distant second with a timing of 36:15.3 and Preethi L Rao of Railways taking the bronze medal with a timing of 36:18.7.

Preeja, who holds the national record of 32:04.41, confessed that there was not much competition in the race and the track was a bit slippery due to the intermittent rains.

'' I was really tired after the Chennai marathon and haven't fully recovered from the strenuous race there,'' she added.

In the 10,000m men, Surendran Singh of Services had to fight it hard to take the first place with a timing of 29:52.06 while Ajaykumar of Police took the silver by completing the distance in 29:52.48 and Santosh Kumar of Railways came third with a timing of 29:55.68.

The Women's Pole Vault event was postponed to tomorrow because of heavy rains.

More than 800 athletes representing 28 teams -- 22 States and six board teams--from across the country are vying for honours in 44 events at the four-day event, which was formally inaugurated by Southern Naval Command Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Vice Admiral S K Damle.

UNI ARC DK2220

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