Surender, Preeja win Gold on the opening day of National Athletics

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Kochi, Sep 8 (UNI) National Champions Surender Singh and Preeja Sreedharan won the gold in the men and women's 10,000 m events in contrasting styles on the opening day of the National Open Athletic Championship here today.

In the Men's 10000m final, Olympian Surender Singh (Services) emerged leader, clocking 29:52.06secs. Police man Ajay Kumar (29:52.48secs) gave Surender a stiff fight till the end, but finished second for silver and Railway man Santosh Kumar (29:55.68secs) took the bronze.

''I am very happy with my performance. I was confident of winning the medal. But I did not aim for any record,'' 29-year-old Surender said.

In women section, Olympian Preeja, maintained the lead throughout and timed 34:13.4secs to clinch the gold, Kavitha Raut (ONGC) with 36:15.3secs, took the silver while Preeja's teammate Preeti L Rao finished third with 36:18.7secs.

''I was confident of winning the medal. I have just returned from the Chennai Marathon. I was hoping to better my own meet record but could not as I was tired,'' said the Asian Championship silver medalist after the race.

UNI MA VV RKM ND1604

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