The 17-year-old performed brilliantly on the final day of the tournament.
Haryana’s Amit Khatri stamped his presence as the best among the country’s crop of U20 race walkers as he won the 10000m title in the 18th National Federation Cup Juniors U20 Athletics Championships with a national record time on Wednesday.
The curtain thus came down on the first national-level track and field competition in a year and some of the performances were indicative of how the athletes had not stopped training and were eager to test the outcome of their hard work. This showing raises expectations from the National Junior Athletics Championships which begins on February 6 in Guwahati.
Amit Khatri clocked 40 minutes 40.97 seconds, winning by nearly half a minute from his state-mate Paramdeep Mor to improve on the national record of 40:37.78 set by Akshdeep Singh in Ranchi in 2018 and the meet mark of 42:09.44 registered by Sanjay Kumar in Coimbatore in 2018.
The Rohtak lad marked his presence first in 2018 when he claimed the U16 5000m race walk national record in 21:17.63 and set a new meet mark of 40:28.00 in the winning U20 10000m race in the National Open Race Walking Championship on Ranchi roads in February last. He previous best on track was 43:36.26 in the National Youth Championships in Raipur in February 2019.
Rajasthan’s hammer thrower Bhagwati Choudhary missed the National U20 record and the meet mark by a mere centimetre when she sent the ball and chain soaring over 52.33m. It was the closest anyone got to Seema Jhakar’s mark set in Lucknow in July 2009 and will mark the 19-year-old as one to look out for when she soon moves into the senior ranks.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu’s triple jumper Praveen Chithravel, a Youth Olympic Games finalist in 2018, went past the 16m mark for the first time since March 2019 and got the meet mark with a 16.01m jump on his fourth try. Bhupender Singh (Haryana) laid down the gauntlet with a 15.81m effort, but Praveen was equal to the task and breached the 16m mark to suggest that his injury woes are behind him.
Chatru Gumnaram (Rajasthan) was another who rewrite a meet record. She won the 3000m in 9:45.87 to improve on the 9:47.28 set by Maharashtra’s Sanjivani Jadhav in Chennaj in 2014. Supriti Kachhap did the early running but it was Uttar Pradesh’s Rebi Pal who ran alongside Chatru Gumnaram’s shoulder until a sprint finish decided the winner.
Madhya Pradesh’s Sunil Dawar completed the 1500-5000m double by winning the longer race in 14 minutes 45.78 seconds while Abhin Devadiga (Karnataka) and Delhi’s Taranjeet Kaur turned in impressive 200m sprints, winning the men and women’s races in 21.50 seconds and 24.11 seconds respectively.