Mid-distance runner Harmilan Bains claimed a gold medal in the women’s 800m event at the 60th National Open Athletics Championships in Warangal on Saturday. Long jumper B Aishwarya also scripted a rare double after winning the triple jump crown within 24 hours of her long jump triumph.
Having already won top honours in the women’s 1500m event earlier in the meet with a national record, Harmilan Bains was aiming to better her tally. The mid-distance runner built on the momentum and eventually pulled off a double by winning the gold in the 800m event, edging past KM Chanda - her nearest competitor.
The Punjab-based athlete has previously done an 800m-1500m double in the National Inter-State Championships in Patiala in June. It was also the fourth time in a year that she piped KM Chanda to secure a top-finish.
On the other hand, long jumper B Aishwarya also scripted a rare double after winning the triple jump crown within 24 hours of her long jump triumph. The Railways’ athlete leaped a season-best of 6.52 on Friday to ensure herself of a top-podium finish in the long jump category.
In the triple jump category, she faced stiff competition from Renu Grewal, who was leading the competition halfway, with her season-best of 13.42m. But Aishwarya, with a best jump of 13.31m in her first three attempts, accelerated in the next two attempts with leaps of 13.49m and 13.55m (season-best). Renu, on her final attempt, could manage only 13.51m in her last attempt, thus Aishwarya walking away as the winner.
Railways’ Mohammed Afsal showed immense character to win gold medal in the 800m final, following a neck-to-neck situation with Ankesh Chaudhary and Krishan Kumar. In fact, the Railways swept away the podium in each of the men’s 800m and the 50km race walk events.