Manju Rani wins women’s 35km race walk but fails to breach Asiad qualifying mark

Bhubaneswar: National record holder Manju Rani of Punjab won gold in the women’s 35km race walk event at the National Inter-State Athletics Championship but failed to breach the Asian Games qualifying mark here on Friday.

The 24-year-old Rani clocked 3 hours 21 minutes and 31 seconds under hot and humid conditions to win the event but fell well short of the Asian Games qualifying mark of 2:58.30. She had clocked the national record time of 2:57:54 in the Indian Race Walking Championships in Ranchi in February.

Haryana’s Juned Khan won the men’s 35km race walk event, clocking 3:00:37.00 which was also well short of the Asian Games qualifying time of 2:35.00.

National record holder Ram Baboo, who had won the title in the Indian Race Walking Championships in Ranchi with a time of 2:31.36.00, did not take part in the event.

As many as four athletes in women’s 400m went past the Asian Games qualifying time of 52.96 seconds in the semifinals. Anjali Devi of Haryana, who returned to action after a three-year lay off, led the pack of women going into the final with a 52.03s run in the semifinal heats.

She was followed by Vithya Ramraj (52.43) of Tamil Nadu, Himanshi Malik (52.46) of Haryana and Aishwarya Mishra (52.73) of Maharashtra.

In the men’s 400m event, Kerala’s Muhammed Ajmal (45.51) broke the meet record while state-mate and national record holder Muhammed Anas clocked the second best time in the semifinal heats with 45.63 to move into the final.

Seasoned campaigner Srabani Nanda of Odisha topped the time chart among those who made it to the women’s 100m final, clocking 11.69 seconds in the semi-final heats.

Jyothi Yarraji, who specialises in 100m hurdles, also made it to the 100m dash final with a time of 11.72s in the semifinal heats. Meanwhile, Kerala’s Mareena George, who was allowed to participate in the championship after an interim order of the Appeals Panel of the National Anti-Doping Agency late on Thursday, could not make it to the seven-event heptathlon for which 100m hurdles and high jump were held in the morning session.