Indian 800m runner Jinson Johnson narrowly misses out on Olympic qualification mark
Kerala's Jinson Johnson ran the third fastest 800m race by an Indian to win the gold but missed the Rio Olympics qualification standard narrowly.
Hyderabad: Kerala's Jinson Johnson ran the third fastest 800m race by an Indian to win the gold but missed the Rio Olympics qualification standard narrowly on the second day of the 56th National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
25-year-old Johnson 1:46.43 while the Rio Games qualification mark stands at 1:46.00.
Johnson ran a fast first lap to the amusement of everyone at the G M C Balayogi Stadium at Gachibowli, with Sajeesh Joseph acting as a pacer. Joseph pulled out after the half-way stage to leave Johnson to complete the remaining part of the race at his own pace.
When the timings appeared on the electronic board, Johnson look visibly disappointed as he missed the Rio Games standard narrowly.
"I was expecting competition from my fellow runners, at least till the 600m. However, lack of challenge was one of the factors for missing the Rio qualification," said Johnson after the race.
The meet served as a Rio Olympics qualifying event.
Johnson's previous best 1:47.56 came two months ago at the Federation Cup in New Delhi. Today's performance put him third in the Indian all-time ranking lists for this distance behind Sriram Singh (1:45.77; 1976) and Pankaj Dimri (1:46.26; 2010).
Tamil Nadu girl M Gomathi takes the women's 800m gold in 2:06.28.
Another athlete who missed the Rio qualification mark today was triple jumper Renjith Maheswary. The former Asian champion tried his best to reach the 16.85m.
However, he could not find his rhythm in the first few rounds. He delivered his best in the final round by leaping 16.56m to win the gold. His Kerala teammate A V Rakesh Babu (16.20) and Bheeshm Singh, representing Manipur (16.16), won the silver and bronze.
Much was expected from the shot putters. However, a slippery circle, due to intermittent rain, hampered the chances of the competitors delivering their bests.
Asian champion Inderjeet Singh, who has already qualified for the Olympics, clinched the gold with a modest 19.28m throw.
Punjab's Tejinderpal Singh, who upset Inderjeet in the Federation Cup, could do only 19.21m to finish second. His state-mate Jasdeep Singh went home with the bronze in 18.48m, whereas national record-holder Om Prakash Singh Karhana finished outside the podium (18.39m).
Odisha's Purnima Hembram, former Asian junior heptathlon champion, pocketed the gold in women's 400m hurdles, clocking 59.27 secs. Ayana Thomas, representing Delhi, was a close second in 59.63s.
In men's 3000m steeplechase, Haryana's Naveen completed a 'hat-trick' of victories with a time of 8:44.33 while Parul Chaudhary (Uttar Pradesh) took the top spot in the women's division in 10:46.92.
Haryana bagged another gold through Ankit Saini, who garnered 6,807 points to win the gruelling decathlon event.
In the morning session, B Sowmya, representing Delhi, made the most out of the absence of top athletes by bagging the gold in women's 20km walk, posting a personal best of 1 hour 42 minutes 55.24 seconds that improved her previous best by more than nine minutes.
Uttar Pradesh walkers Priyanka (1:45:43.60) and Rani Yadav (1:49:19.75) took the silver and bronze respectively.
In men's pole vault, Tamil Nadu's Subramaniam Siva, the reigning national junior champion, scaled to 4.90m to pocket the gold while defending champion Parveen Kumar (Haryana) and national record holder K P Bimin (Kerala) got the silver and bronze with efforts of 4.80 and 4.70 respectively.
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