Rosy Meena breaks her own pole vault National record

Coach and ward: Milber Bertrand Russell, right, with Rosy Meena.

Coach and ward: Milber Bertrand Russell, right, with Rosy Meena.
| Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

Tamil Nadu’s Rosy Meena Paulraj broke the women’s pole vault National record for the second time in a fortnight, this time scaling 4.21m at the 61st National Open athletics championships at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

At the National Games in Gandhinagar, Rosy Meena had erased V.S. Surekha’s record (4.15m) with a mark of 4.20. On Saturday, she first vaulted to a height of 4.10m to seal the gold, relegating the Railways duo of Pavithra Venkatesh and Baranica Elangovan to second and third.

The 25-year-old then touched 4.16m to rewrite Surekha’s meet record (4.15m) set in 2014, before bettering her own mark from two weeks ago.

“The last time I came here for Khelo India, I didn’t do well. So, I was determined for give a good performance,” said Rosy Meena. “I am not entirely satisfied with 4.21m. The aim is to scale 4.30m, the Asian Games norm. That’s what I will be working towards.”

The competition started under the blazing afternoon sun but the notoriously fickle Bengaluru weather meant dark rain clouds soon replaced blue and white patches and a cool wind started blowing across the stadium.

Rosy Meena struggled with her run-up all along and even had to use layers of the analgesic balm Amrutanjan to keep herself warm. But egged on by a sparse but enthusiastic crowd, and the quiet backing of her fascinatingly named coach Milber Bertrand Russell — christened after the great British mathematician and philosopher — Rosy Meena nailed 4.21m on her first try at the record.

She then had three failed bids at 4.25m, but it was an icing she didn’t quite require. So high has her stock risen in the last 15 days that the Tamil Nadu government — according to Milber — is pushing hard to retain her services, even as she looked set to move to the Railways for a secure job.

Elsewhere, Jyothi Yarraji, the National Games 100m champion, didn’t finish her heat, choosing to focus on 100m hurdles, her pet event. Amlan Borgohain, the men’s 100m champion, reportedly pulled out on the eve of the competition.

The results:

Men: 20km race walk: 1. Suraj Panwar (Utk) 1:25:23s, 2. Akshdeep Singh (Pun) 1:25:26, 3. Paramjeet Singh Bisht (Ser) 1:25:26.

Women: Pole vault: 1. Rosy Meena Paulraj (TN) 4.21m (NMR; OR: 4.15m, V.S. Surekha, 2014), 2. Pavithra Venkatesh (Rly) 4.00m, 3. Baranica Elangovan (Rly) 4.00m; Discus: 1. Paramjot Kaur (Rly) 50.81, 2. Nidhi Rani (Rly) 50.29, 3. Neetika Verma (UP), 49.70; 20km race walk: 1. Ravina (Rly), 1:34:55s (NMR; OR: 1:38:30, Bhawana Jat, 2019), 2. Vandana (Kar) 1:37:19, 3. Munita Prajapati (UP) 1:37:49.

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