Hyderabad: For Parul Chaudhary (Railways), it was a golden double as she beat the challenge of Maharashtra’s Komal Chandrakant Jagdale to win the women’s 3000m Steeplechase final in the 60th National Open Athletics Championships at the Jawaharlal Nerhu Stadium in Hanamkonda on Thursday. Parul had won the 5000m gold on the first day of the meet.
Though Ram Baboo (Uttar Pradesh) was credited with the only National Record-breaking performance when he won the men’s 35km Race Walk in 2 hours 46 minutes and 31 seconds, it was the women’s 3000m Steeplechase made for great viewing for the goodly crowd that turned up. Both Parul Chaudhary and Komal Jagdale ended up with personal best times.
To be sure, the Tamil Nadu Mixed 4x400m Relay squad came up with a new Meet Record in an enthralling final which saw fancied Railways being disqualified after Kiran Pahal, running the third leg, stepped inside the kerb when jostling for space on the inside with Delhi’s Pooja. The credit for Tamil Nadu’s victory should go to R Vithya Ramaraj’s spectacular third leg when she lifted her team from fifth place to second for P Abhimanyu to come up with a memorable anchor leg that saw him overhaul a 5m lead held by All India Police at the start of the final leg.
Aware that she had to outrun the established Steepelchaser, Komal Jagdale sought to open up a big lead in the early part of the race. Parul Chaudhary made the most of that pace to script her best time in the event, lowering her personal best by a whopping 10 seconds. It was the first time she dipped home inside 10 minutes.
While Parul Chaudhary relied on her better finishing skills to slip past Komal Jadgale on the final lap after tailing her through the race, the Maharashtra runner made a last-gasp attempt to surprise her rival on the home stretch but the Railways ace sensed it and lunged in the nick of time to win by two-hundredths of a second.
Railways’ B Aishwarya claimed the women’s Long Jump crown with an opening leap of 6.52m that propelled her among the top jumpers in the country. For someone whose previous best effort was over 6.25m on January 3, 2020 and the best this season was 6.16m in the Railways trials, the 24-year old will have pleasantly surprised fans of athletics.