Manpreet, Jaisha shine on Day One of national athletics

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Kolkata, Sep 16 (IANS) Shot putter Manpreet Kaur bagged a national record and a ticket to the Rio Olympics while O.P. Jaisha cruised to the gold in the women’s 5,000 metres event as Railways produced a strong show on the opening day of the 55th National Open Athletic Championship here on Wednesday.

Railways bagged a total of eight medals on the day. Their tally included three golds, one silver and four bronze medals. Services and ONGC were the next best performers with two medals each. Both ended up with a gold and silver each on the opening day.

Jaisha clocked a timing of 15 minutes and 31.73 seconds and created a new meet record in the process. She capped a strong Railways show in the event with teammates L.Surya (15:56.24) and Swati Gawde (16:11.62) finishing second and third respectively.

The 32-year-old has had a wonderful year. She had won the bronze in the 1500m event at the Asian Games in Incheon. She also finished 18th in the marathon in the recently concluded World Championship in Beijing.

However, the Olympic qualification time for the women’s 5,000m event is 15:20 and Jaisa’s performance on Wednesday fell short of the mark.

Manpreet impressed during the afternoon session as she registered a throw of 17.96m with her second attempt to smash the previous record of 17.43m set by Harbans Kaur in 1997.

“I had the qualification at the back of my mind and so wanted to do well here,” Manpreet told mediapersons after the event.

Manpreet Kaur (15.03m) of ONGC and Ramanpreet Kaur of Punjab (14.36m) clinched the second and third positions respectively.

In the men’s 5,000m event, it was G.Lakshmanan of Services who pocketed the gold medal with a timing of 14.00.77, Suresh Kumar came second with 15:56.24 and Kheta Ram earned the bronze with 14:30.78.

In the women’s long jump, Shraddha Bhaskar Ghule of ONGC got the gold with a 6.38m. In the women’s hammer throw, Sarita P. Singh again from Railways claimed the first position with a 58.97 metres attempt.

The four-day event will conclude September 19. It was last held here in the city in 2011 but at the Salt Lake Stadium. This is the first time both track and field events are happening at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre.

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