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Tamil Nadu’s Asian medalist T Santosh Kumar won gold in 400m hurdles, but fell short of his goal « Athletics Federation of India

Tamil Nadu’s Asian medalist T Santosh Kumar won gold in 400m hurdles, but fell short of his goal « Athletics Federation of India

Bhubaneswar

Tamil Nadu’s International low hurdler, T Santosh Kumar clinched the first medal on the opening day of the 27th National Federation Senior Athletics Competition here at eight lane Kalinga Stadium on Sunday. His gold medal winning time was 50.04 seconds.

It was pleasant weather in the evening session due to overnight rain here, but the 25 years old Asian bronze medalist wasn’t able to achieve his desired goal during the medal round. “I had planned to break the 50 seconds barrier here in Bhubaneswar. But something went wrong somewhere,” he said in the mixed zone after winning the gold medal.

At the 2023 Asian Athletics Championships held in Bangkok, Santosh Kumar clocked 49.09 seconds to win bronze. The Tamil Nadu hurdler was, however, confident of breaking the 50 seconds barrier in coming weeks as it was important for him to improve his global ranking and qualify for the Paris Olympic Games starting from July 26 in France. “I will compete in Taiwan at the end of this month,” he revealed. “Hopefully I will be able to achieve my goal.”

Asian Games medalist Vithya Ramraj wasn’t able to add another gold to Tamil Nadu’s team as she stopped immediately after the start of the race. Later she claimed that she has back pain and is undergoing rehab. “I will come back strongly,” she said.

In her absence the gold went to Veerpal Kaur of Punjab. She clocked 59.43 seconds. The Punjab’s hurdler said she couldn’t have done better but there wasn’t anyone to challenge her in the race. “My goal was 58 seconds. But I missed it,” she added.

Away from low hurdles, it was start to finish for West Bengal’s Lilly Das on her debut in the women’s 5,000m race. She lapped the last runner and finished 250m ahead of the second runner. Her gold medal winning time was 16:31.05. Kerala’s Gokul KR was leading day-one of gruelling decathlon. He secured 3665 points at the end of the day. Delhi’s Neeraj Kumar was trailing at second place with 3442 points. While Tamil Nadu’s Stalin Joes was at third spot with 3407 points.

Results:

Men:

400m hurdles: Santosh Kumar T (Tamil Nadu) 50.04 seconds, Nikhil Bhardwaj (Punjab) 50.92 seconds, Dhaval Mahesh Utekar (Gujarat) 51.13 seconds. Pole vault: Dev Kumar Meena (Madhya Pradesh) 5.10m, Shekhar Kumar Pandey (Uttar Pradesh) 4.90m, Hariharan R (Tamil Nadu) 4.0m.

Women:

5,000m: Lilly Das (West Bengal)16:31.05 seconds, Poonam Dinkar (Maharashtra) 17:02.51 seconds, Kiran (Haryana)…

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