The 19-year-old played in the first national-level athletics tournament after a long hiatus.
Haryana’s Yashvir Singh stole the thunder from distance runners Sunil Dawar (Madhya Pradesh) and Ankita (Uttarakhand) as the trio heralded the return of national-level athletics competition with new meet records in the 18th National Federation Cup Junior (U20) Athletics Championships in the TT Nagar Stadium.
Yashvir Singh broke Neeraj Chopra’s meet record in winning the Javelin Throw with a best effort of 78.68m to surge past the 76.91m that had given Neeraj Chopra the meet record in Hyderabad in 2015.
His five valid throws went past the 75m, the best coming from his second attempt. Yashvir Singh had a little amount of training prior to the tournament due to the COVID-19 but it didn’t affect his will to do the best in the tournament. Neeraj Chopra had set this record at the age of 17.
The 18-year-old Ankita claimed the first new mark after national-level competition resumed after the Milo National Inter-District Junior Athletics Championships in Tirupati in November 2019, the Khelo India Youth Games in Guwahati in January 2020 and the Khelo India University Games in Bhubaneshwar in February 2020.
The girl from Uttarakhand ran the 5000m race at her own pace to finish in 16:37.90 to claim top honours in the Federation Cup Junior Athletics Championships for the second successive time. She lowered Suman Rani’s record of 17:02.67 set in Coimbatore in 2018.
Ankita had won the 5000m race in Tiruvannamalai in September 2019 with a time of 17:16.49, she went on to add the 1500m title, doing just enough to stay ahead of Haryana’s Pooja and winning with a time of 4:27.54.
Sunil Dawar, a South Asian Games 5000m silver medallist in 2019, claimed the 1500m meet mark by clocking 3:48.54 to improve on the 3:51.16 set by Shashi Bhushan Singh in Hyderabad in 2015. With Sree Kiran finishing nearly 10 seconds later, Sunil would have been left wishing for stiffer competition and a crack at Ajay Kumar Saroj’s National mark of 3:44.96 set in 2016.
Saurabh Rajesh Naitam (Maharashtra) and Taranjeet Kaur (Delhi) emerged the fastest athletes of the meet, winning the men and women’s 100m sprints respectively in 10.51 seconds and 11.70 seconds.