Hyderabad: Abhishek Pal captured the first gold of the 60th National Open Athletics Championship when he cruised to victory in the men’s 5,000 metres event at JN Stadium, Hanamkonda, Warangal on Wednesday. The 24-year-old Railway athlete clocked 14:16.35s. The women’s 5000 metres gold went to Parul Chaudhury, also of Railways. Parul timed 15:59.69s.
Pal, a 2016 silver medallist in 10000m in Junior Asian Championship, had to ward off the challenge from Dharmender and Ajay Kumar, both Services.
“I was very comfortable and I was sure that I would win the medal,” said Pal, whose father is a farmer in Amethi (Uttar Pradesh). He has been winning medals in the national circuit either in 5000 metres or 10000. He was the winner in 10000 metres gold while he returned with silver in 5000m in the Patiala Federation Cup. However, he has opted out of the 10,000 metres event in this meet.
For Parul, it was a sweet victory. The 26-year-old athlete had won the National Open gold in 5000m in 2019 in Ranchi. Winner of the bronze medal in the 2019 Asian Championship, Parul breezed past Komal Chandrakant Jagadale and Sanjivani Baburao Jadhav to take the honours in this women’s event.
Pavitra Venkatesh scaled 3.90m in the first attempt to grab the women’s pole vault gold. The 19-year-old, who hails from Salem in Tamil Nadu, is a former junior national record holder and had qualified for the World University Games which was scheduled to be held in April this year in Chengdu (China) was postponed to one year due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Pavitra beat the challenge of Mariya Jaison and Krishna Rachan, both of Railways. Mariya was closed with a 3.80m vault.
5000m: 1. Abhishek Pal (Railways) 14:16.35s, 2. Dharmender (Services), 3. Ajay Kumar (Services).
5000m: Parul Chaudhary (Railways) 15:59.69s, 2. Komal Chandrakant Jagadale (Mah), 3. Sanjivani Baburao Jadhav (Mah). Pole vault: Pavithra Venkatesh (Tamil Nadu) 3.90m, 2. Mariya Jaison (Railways), 3. Krishna Rachan (Railways).
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