" National record-holder Sureka Renjith scaled a new season best 4.05m to win the women's pole vault. In the men section, Tamil Nadu high jumpers Nikhil Chittarasu (2.21m) and Lakshmanan Yogaraj (2.19m) attained the Incheon qualification while Kerala's Jithin C. Thomas completes the podium clearing 2.16m."
Patiala, Aug 18 - The women's 3000m steeplechase turned out to be a tactical race with reigning Asian Games champion and national record-holder Sudha Singh (Uttar Pradesh) and marathon runner Lalita Babbar (Maharashtra) fighting it out for the top honours on the third and penultimate day of the Federation Cup National Athletics Championships here at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) here Monday.

Lalita did the front running for the first three laps and let Sudha take over briefly in the remaining part before snatching the lead at the 'bell'. Sudha tried to regain the pace but could not cope with the heat after the final water jump.

Both Lalita (9:52.34) and Sudha (9:53.54) dipped under the latter's previous meet mark of 10:13.83 set last year and the Asian Games qualifying norm of 10:05.60. Sudha was the winner of the inaugural Asian Games title in this event with a time of 9:55.67 at Guangzhou, four years ago.

The men's 3000m steeplechase witnessed high drama as Haryana's Naveen who finished first in 8:46.16 got disqualified immediately after the race on the grounds of an unprecedented assistance from an Assam runner named Asish who acted as pacer in most part of the race. However the jury upheld the decision and placed Naveen first.

Jaiveer (8:53.36) and Manju (8:54.43) from Border Security Force took the next two spots.

Kerala's M.A. Prajusha completed a golden double as she went on to win her second gold with a leap of 13.39m in triple jump - exactly the qualifying norm fixed by the Athletics Federation of India for the forthcoming Asian Games. Earlier, she won the long jump title in this championship.

Surprisingly, the winner had only two valid jumps this evening, 12.63m in third round and the golden one in the next attempt.

However, considering her past record - she had at least nine marks better than her performance with her personal best 13.72m set during Delhi CWG on top - she is expected to do better in the Asiad.

National record-holder Mayookha Johny (ONGC) and N.V. Sheena, representing Gujarat, logged an identical 13.34m but Sheena was adjudged the silver medallist with her better jump series.

Annu Rani from Uttar Pradesh, who eclipsed the national record in women's javelin throw with 58.83m during the Lucknow National Inter-State Championships earlier this year, once again touched the 58m that surpassed the meet best of her state-mate Suman Devi who incidentally secured a silver this evening in 54.72m.

National record-holder Sureka Renjith scaled a new season best 4.05m to win the women's pole vault. In the men section, Tamil Nadu high jumpers Nikhil Chittarasu (2.21m) and Lakshmanan Yogaraj (2.19m) attained the Incheon qualification while Kerala's Jithin C. Thomas completes the podium clearing 2.16m.

As expected, Olympian K.T. Irfan from Kerala garnered the 20 km race walking gold in the morning as he stopped the clock 1 hour 24 minutes 27.6 seconds with Tamil Nadu's Ganapathy finished second 30 seconds behind.


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