Kavita wins gold with record timing

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Ranchi, Feb 21: Kavita Raut annexed the 5000m title outpacing her Asian Games nemesis Preeja Sridharan to make it a double, while Indian sprint star Abdul Najeeb Qureshi slipped to third spot as track and field events concluded in the 34th National Games here.

But Kerala athletes took the overall honours finishing on top with a haul of nine gold, 10 silver and eight bronze, ahead of Services (7-1-5) and Punjab (5-5-5) as a total of 44 yellow medals were up for grabs.

Having beaten the Asian Games 10000m gold medalist earlier for the gold medal, the concluding day of athletics witnessed the Maharashtra tribal girl notching a double when she pipped the national record holder from Kerala for the 5000m title.

In a repeat of the 10000m final, Kavita trailed past Preeja in the final run as the latter could not match up to the Maharashtra girl, who stopped the clock at 15:54.26 to shatter the 12-year-old record set by Sunita Rani (16:05.36) at Imphal National Games.

Preeja''s timing of 15:54.98 also bettered the meet record. OP Jaisha of Punjab clinched the bronze with a timing of 16:31.47.

It was an Asian Games revenge of sorts for the Maharashtra track sensation as she had finished behind Preeja in both the 10,000m and 5,000m to settle for silver and bronze respectively.

In another upset of sorts, Indian sprint king Abdul Najeeb Qureshi was pushed to the third spot in 200m when Services' Nitin Kumar snatched the title from Andhra's M Manikanandaraj after a photo-finish.

Nitin Kumar and M Manikandaraj clocked an identical 21.74 as the former was adjudged winner by means of photo-finish while Andhra's Qureshi (21.75) had to be content with a bronze.

Services also clinched the 4x400m relay gold when the quartet of R K Gerorge, Prem Anand, Kunju Mohd and Mortuza clocked 3:09.54 for the title as Punjab's Satinder Singh, Satnam Singh, Kuldev Singh, Davinder Singh had 3:09.82 for silver. Shareef K, Avin Thomas, Jithin Paul, Joseph G Abraham clocked 3:10.02 to earn Kerala the bronze.

The men's 5000m also saw a meet record when Kerala's Soji Mathew clocked 14:11.99 to improve Sunil Kumar''s 14:17.47.

Maharashtra's Rahul Kumar Pal (14:14.35) and Mohammad Younus of Services with a timing of 14:15.26 bagged the second and third spots.

Andhra girl G Mounika with a timing of 24.05 sec clinched the 200m title while H M Jyothi of Karnataka (24.27) and Kerala's Santhini V (24.73) were pushed to second and third spots.


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