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Ready, steady... gold for Thingalaya

Nihal Koshie

Posted: Apr 24, 2013 at 0138 hrs IST

Patiala: Siddanth Thingalaya’s presence in the 100m final had most of his competitors nervy at the starting blocks. Since 2010 Thingalaya has lowered the national men’s 110m hurdles record five times, though one of the timings at a national meet in Australia was not listed in the record books of the Athletics Federation of India, and there was talk even before the heats were completed that this was a one-horse race.

The hurdles event is a mix of speed, timing and technique but the first of these virtues makes a hurdler a threat in the 100m too, especially if he is open to competing in new events. Towering over the others at 6’ 3” and boasting a longer stride, Thingalaya won the gold with a timing of 10.55s. Though the national record stands at 10.30s, the fact that Thingalaya beat a field full of specialists in his first competitive 100m race made the 22-year-old’s gold special.

However, what many of his competitors weren’t aware of was that Thingalaya is currently making a tentative return to the track. He missed out on qualifying for the London Olympic Games by 0.05s after he pulled a hamstring going into the ninth hurdle at an event in Europe. What followed was nearly eight months in rehabilitation in Brisbane and Mumbai. In his first race upon his return — the Queensland state selection trails — in March he tripped and fell at the third hurdle.

“You are mindful that you are coming back from injury so you tend to be a bit more careful. My rhythm is not good at the moment so I decided to run the 100m to build on my speed and gain confidence. I am open to running in the 100m and the 200m as long as it helps me become a better hurdler. But since I specialise in hurdles that will remain my main event,” Thingalaya said.

On Friday he will participate in the heats of the men’s 110m hurdles at the National Institute of Sports, a venue where he has lowered the national record on two occasions. “Winning the 100m gold has given me confidence and I hope to carry that into the hurdles,” said Thingalaya, who trains with Australia’s Sally Pearson, the gold medallist in the 100m hurdles at the London Games.

Doctor takes gold

In the women’s pole-vault, Khyati Vakhai of ONGC beat national record holder SV Surekha of Tamil Nadu to win gold by clearing 4m. Vakharia, who is an MBBS graduate, became only the second Indian woman after Surekha (personal best 4.08m) to jump over 4m. Sureka took silver (3.70m) and third place went to Kerala’s KC Dija.

Maheshwary beaten

Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner Renjith Maheshwary was pipped to the gold by ONGC’s Arpinder Singh in the men’s triple jump. Maheswary, who has a point to prove after a disastrous outing in London where he fouled all three attempts, was leading the field at the end of the second round here with a jump of 16.65m. However, in the third attempt, Arpinder responded with 16.84m, just one centimetre short of the B qualifying mark for the World Championships in Moscow in August. Though Arpinder did not register a legal jump in his next three attempts, Maheswary could not better the distance.

Results (All finals): Men:5000m: 1. Nitender Singh (UK) 13:55.28s, 2. Kheta Ram (RAJ) 13:55.38s, 3. Md Yunus (Mah) 13:55.62s; 100m: 1. Siddanth Thingalaya (ONGC) 10.55s, 2. Shameer Mon (Chattisgarh) 10.61s, 3. M Manikanand (AP) 10.63s; Triple jump: 1. Arpinder Singh (ONGC) 16.84s, 2. Renjith Maheswary (TN) 16.65s, 3. Rakesh Babu (Navy) 15.96s.

Women: Pole vault: 1 Khyati S Vakhai (ONGC) 4.00m, 2. VS Sureka (TN) 3.70m, 3. Dija KC (Ker) 3.70m; 1,500m: 1 Juma Khatoon (Jharkhand) 4:31.01s, 2. Sinimol Paulose (ONGC) 4:31.53s, 3. Pratima Tadu (Assam) 4:31.60s; 100m: 1. Merlin K Joseph (Ker) 11.75s, 2. Srabani Nanda (Orrisa) 11.89s, 3. Asha Roy (West Bengal) 11.90s; 10,000m: 1. Kavita Raut (ONGC) 35:30.21s, 2. Lalita Babar (Mah) 35:35.08s, 3. Monika Athre (Mah) 35:44.80s.

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