Tirupati, November 23: Long jumper Shaili Singh (Bengaluru Urban) and shot putter Vidhi (Meerut) broke meet records during qualification on the opening day of the 17th MILO National Inter-District Junior Athletics Meet 2019 at the Tarakarama Stadium in the Sri Venkateswara University Campus here on Saturday.
The 15-year-old Shaili Singh made light of the attention she got from that the goodly crowd, belying the pressure to nail down a place in the final with a leap of 5.93m on her first and only attempt. The National under-16 record holder gave evidence of her growing maturity in ignoring pressure and focusing on what she could do.
“I will do the best as I can,” she said as she waited for the other jumpers to finish their three jumps, She pointed out that the two years with coach Bobby George and World Championship medallist Anju Bobby George have made a vast difference to her approach. But pushed a bit to define how far she wanted to go, Shaili Singh spoke of having set the Olympic final as her goal.
Pariksha (Faridabad), Nivethitha Gnanaskand (Coimbatore) and Paveena Rajesh (Tirupur) finished within four centimeters of one another to raise expectations of a keen battle in the girls under-14 long jump final. Nivethitha Gnanaskand had finished on top of the heap in the National Junior Athletics Championship with 5.33m while Pariksha had finished second with 5.07m.
Vidhi (Meerut), who finished second in the National Junior Athletics Championships in Guntur earlier this month with a throw of 14.40m, claimed the girls under-16 Shot Put meet record with a throw of 13.80m. It was a 5cm improvement over the mark set by M Sharmila (Ramanathapuram) last year.
Two Mumbai throwers, Pristal Praveen D’Souza (Mumbai Suburban) and Arya Vasant Mandekar (Bombay City), were joined by Rohtak’s Versha as the three girls under-14 shot putters who went past the 11m mark in qualification.
Vibhaskar Kumar (North West Delhi) led the boys under-16 100m semifinalists with a time of 11.34 seconds. Amirishetti Tharun (Karimnagar) and Prince Chaudhary (Etah) were the other two boys who dipped in under 11.50 seconds, winning their heats in 11.42 and 11.44 seconds respectively. As many as 40 heats were run and the best 24 sprinters made it to the semifinals.
Reshma Gajanan Gore (Thane) breezed to victory in 12.58 seconds in her heats in the girls under-16 100m. Though four others broke the 13-second barrier, none of them could match her time. As many as 23 heats were run to spot the 24 fastest girls who would progress to the semifinals to be held on Sunday.
In the girls under-14 100m, Saanika Subhash Bangera (Udupi) was the fastest of the qualifiers in the first round, being the only one to break the 13-second barrier with a time of 12.98 seconds. Abhay Singh Kanwar (Bhopal) earned the honour of being the fastest qualifier in the boys under-14 first round with a time of 11.61 seconds.
Avinash Prakash Patil (Kolhapur) clocked 52.68 seconds in the boys under-16 400m heats while I Shobhit (East Singhbum) was the other to slip in under 53 seconds on a day when as many as 30 heats were run.