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Long jumper Shaili Singh wins Gold in National Open Athletics Championships.

Shaili Singh came up with a season’s best effort of 6.41m on her last attempt to win the women’s Long Jump title on maiden appearance in the 61st AFI National Open Athletics Championships at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here today. Her final jump, her second longest leap ever, provided a golden touch to the final day’s proceedings.

The 18-year-old was assured of gold even before that leap. Her opening effort of 6.25m was better than the 6.22m that Kerala jumper Sruthi Lekshmi and Nayana James managed across their six tries each. The Railways trio finished outside the medal bracket, with V Neena barely missing the podium with a best of 6.21m.

In the men’s 200m, Tamil Nadu’s Ragul Kumar experienced a sub-21 second sprint for the first time as he won in 20.87 seconds, the third fastest time by an Indian this year behind the 20.52 and 20.55 clocked by Amlan Borgohain in the Federation Cup in April and the National Games earlier this month.

Shot Putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Services), whose performance was worth 1162 points, and 100m Hurdler Jyothi Yarraji (Railways), whose sub-13 second effort was worth 1174 points, claimed the Best Athlete titles for men and women respectively.

Railways won the overall team championships with 297 points while Services and host Karnataka were second and third with 174 points and 69.50 points respectively. Services, which scored all its points in the men’s events, beat Railways to the men’s title. The Railways women collected a whopping 201 points to leave Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh far behind.

On the final day of the five-day meet, Gujarat’s Murli Kumar Gavit won the men’s 10,000m, his first National crown in four years since claiming the distance double in Bhubaneswar in September 2018. Akita Dhyani (Railways) made her maiden 10,000m race at the National level a memorable one by winning it in 34:39.05, comfortably from her competitors.

The 35km Race Walk events produced meet records for Ram Baboo (Uttar Pradesh) and Payal (Uttarakhand). Ram Baboo improved his own mark by more than 7 minutes by winning in 2 hours 29 minutes and 5 seconds. Payal beat the record holder Ramandeep Kaur and her mark set last year by more than 10 minutes in winning in 3 hours 4 minutes 48 seconds.

Hammer Thrower KM Rachna (Uttar Pradesh) marked her returned to competition with three efforts over 60m, including a personal best of 63.66m, to beat National Record holder Sarita Romit Singh. With a couple of hearty efforts in the end, Sarita Singh sent the ball and chain over 59.85m and 59.96m to edge out Tanya Chaudhary in the race to second place.