Tajinderpal braves the elements to clinch medal

Slippery conditions, cold and damp weather, and a makeshift Shot put field — nothing could deter Tajinderpal Singh Toor from clinching the gold at the 61st National Open Athletics Championships at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Sunday.

The Asian record holder came up with 20.68m heave, 24cm shy of his own meet record.

If a torrential downpour before the start of evening session made it incredibly difficult for athletes to stay warm and also grip the Shot, the shifting of the rink to a small area between the track and the ringed fence near the stands made them feel claustrophobic.

Competitors weren’t pleased that they were denied the main turf, both in training and competition, for the fear of damaging the grass that would affect ISL football activities.

A Karnataka Athletics Association (KAA) official confirmed that the State government’s Department of Youth Empowerment & Sports (DYES) had barred them from using the area and that Hammer throw would be shifted to the adjacent 200m track. Javelin and discus would however continue in the main field.

“The same thing happened in Delhi too,” said gold-medallist Tajinderpal. “Athletes should be allowed to train. The feeling is different [in the restricted space] than compared to where we are supposed to throw.”

Inderjeet Singh, a bronze-medallist here and a former Asian champion, said: “It’s because of that (makeshift arena) all my throws were going out of the arc. I was finding it difficult to grip. I’m requesting the authorities to help the athletes who are winning medals for the country.”

Elsewhere, K. Elakkiyadasan and Srabani Nanda clinched the men’s and women’s 100m titles. In women’s 400m, Subha Venkatesan came up her personal best timing of 52.67s to secure gold.

The results:

Men: 100m: 1. K. Elakkiyadasan (Rly) 10.37s, 2. Harjit Singh (Ser) 10.52, 3. B. Siva Kumar (Rly) 10.54; 400m: 1. Rajesh Ramesh (Rly) 46.63, 2. Ayush Dabas (Rly) 46.86, 3. W. Nihal Joel (Kar) 47.03; 1500m: 1. Parvej Khan (Ser) 3:46.41, 2. Abhishek Singh Thakur (MP) 3:46.43, 3. Ritesh Ohre (MP) 3:46.43;

Long jump: 1. Yugant Shekhar Singh (Rly) 7.59m, 2. K. Mohammed Asief (Ker) 7.57, 3. S. Arya (Kar) 7.49; Shot put: 1. Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Ser) 20.68m, 2. Karanveer Singh (Rly) 20.10, 3. Inderjeet Singh (Har) 18.48.

Women: 100m: 1. Srabani Nanda (Odi) 11.55s, 2. Himashree Roy (Rly) 11.56, 3. Archana S. Suseendran (TN) 11:58; 400m: 1. Subha Venkatesan (TN) 52.67, 2. Sonia Baishya (Rly) 53.38, 3. Dandi Jyothika Sri (And) 53.43; 1500m: 1. K.M. Deeksha (MP) 4:23.03, 2. Ankita (Rly) 4:23.25, 3. Lili Das (WB) 4:23.91; Heptathlon: 1. Swapna Barman (Rly) 5798 pts, 2. Sowmiya Murugan (Rly) 5393, 3. Sonu Kumari (Rly) 5132.

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