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Avinash Sable, Murali Sreeshankar cruise through to World Championships

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Avinash Sable, Murali Sreeshankar cruise through to World Championships

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SportsCafe Desk

08/31/2019

Steeplechaser Avinash Sable and long jumper Murali Sreeshankar cruised through to the World Championships later this month with gold medal performances at the 59th National Inter-State Athletics Championships at Lucknow on Friday. Kerala was declared as the overall champion, PTI reported.

The 24-year-old Maharashtrian Sable – 25th at the IAAF world rankings managed to set a record time of 8:33.19 while running at a comfortable pace to claim the gold. Perhaps he could have had a shot at his own national record of 8:28.94 but the humidity was of little help. However, he has already qualified for the showpiece event, given the qualifying mark for men’s 3000m steeplechase at the World Championships is 8:29.00.

Meanwhile, Sreesankar hit 7.83m on his second jump and raised hopes of going past the 8-metre mark. But the 20-year-old’s massive effort in his final jump saw the red flag being raised for him overstepping. The required mark for the World Championships is 8.17m and the Kerala long jumper already has a personal best of 8.20m.

However, the major highlight of the day came during the men’s 4x400m relay final when Muhammed Anas, one of the members of the main Indian quartet representing AFI-A, took the baton from a runner of AFI-B. Anas, who was running the final leg, picked up the baton from Sajin, an AFI-team B member who ran at the third leg, after his teammate Alex Antony pulled out 200m into the third leg due to a muscle problem. Despite the hilarious turn of events, the AFI-A team of Amoj Jacob, Noah Tom, Antony, and Anas is currently at 16th and last place for a qualification spot of the World Championships to be held in Doha from September 28 to October 6. In the official result, the AFI-A team was shown as DNF (Did Not Finish) while the AFI-B team was disqualified.

Tamil Nadu’s women’s sprint quartet – Dhana Lakshmi, R Nithya Ramraj, V Revathi, and Archana Suseendran – combined to finish the 4x100m relay in 45.69 seconds, improving on the 45.96 set by the Kerala team in 1997. Although Odisha’s Dutee Chand also failed in her attempt to breach the World Championships standard for women’s 100m, she still likely makes it to Doha as she is currently inside the target number of competitors (48) in the event. Only Anjali Devi, who won gold in women’s 400m on Friday, touched the World Championships mark during the four-day championships.

Anjali was adjudged the best female athlete while Iran’s Mahdi Pirijahan, who won the 400m hurdles, was named the best male athlete. Kerala was declared the overall champion as well as the men’s and women’s champion team of the event.

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