He came up with a leap of 8.36m during the competition.

J Jeswin Aldrin (Tamil Nadu) came with a stunning wind-aided leap of 8.37m to beat Olympian S Sreeshankar (Kerala) in a fierce but friendly battle to grab the attention on the second day of the 25th AFI National Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships in the C H Muhammed Koya Stadium here on Sunday.

On a day that saw nine jumps over 8m, Jeswin Aldrin produced a fine series that saw all five of his valid efforts past that mark while each of Sreeshankar sailed over that distance on each of his three valid tries, including an 8.36m that helped him improve his own National Record by 10cm and a place among the 10 best Asians ever in Long Jump.

Less than a month ago, the 20-year-old, who hails from Tiruchirapalli, broke into the select band of Indians in the 8m club when he won the Indian Grand Prix 2 in Thiruvananthapuram with 8.20m.

In a gripping contest, Sreeshankar opened with 8.16m and Jeswin Aldrin responded with 8.01. The younger jumper leapt 8.37m but a tail wind of 4.1m/s denied him the National and meet records. A fired up Sreeshankar could not stop Jeswin Aldrin from winning gold but came up with 8.36m on his third attempt to improve his own National and meet marks.

The exciting battle at the Long Jump pit helped Jeswin Aldrin and Sreeshankar steal the thunder from Aishwarya Kailash Mishra (Maharashtra) who had brought everyone to the edge of their seats with a sensational 400m sprint in 51.18 seconds, the fifth best time by an Indian woman and a meet record.

Scorching the track from the start, she appeared to run a race of her own. It became apparent by the halfway stage that she would by a big margin, leaving the others to battle for the second spot. Only Hima Das, three times in 2018, and Manjeet Kaur, once in 2004, have run quicker than Aishwarya Mishra.

These two performances meant that B Siva Kumar (Tamil Nadu) and Dutee Chand (Odisha), who claimed the titlesof the fastest man and woman respectively, had to settle for less of the limelight on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Siva Kumar, who clocked a personal best time of 10.37 seconds, was identified as the winner only after the photo finish equipment gave him an edge of four-thousandths of a second over Tamil Nadu team-mate Elakkiadasan.  Dutee Chand returned to winning ways after suffering defeats in the Federation Cup and National Inter-State Championships last year.

Sourabh Rathi, a 21-year-old from Uttar Pradesh, marked his debut in the senior ranks with a Decathlon gold. With a determined effort in the 1500m, the final of the 10 events, he leapfrogged past the leaders Boota Singh and Mohit. Boota Singh looked set to add a fourth National-level crown but a slow 1500m meant he finished 24 points behind Sourabh Rathi.

There were good victories for Ajay Kumar Saroj (Uttar Pradesh) and Lili Das (West Bengal) in the men and women’s 1500m races, both having to showcase their ability to produce a kick to outsprint Rahul (Delhi) and Ankita Dhyani (Uttarakhand) respectively.

Earlier in the day, Andhra Pradesh’s Jyothi Yarraji clocked 13.43 seconds to top her 100m Hurdles heats in a new meet record time, improving on Anuradha Biswal’s 13.48 seconds effort in New Delhi 16 years ago.

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