Kerala 'juniors' emerge overall champions

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> For the fifth year in a row, the overall 17th National Junior (age group) Athletics Championship was won by Kerala.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Kerala yet again proved their supremacy in national athletics when they extended their lease on the overall championship title for the fifth year in a row in the 17th National Junior (age group) Athletics Championship that concluded here today. Kerala boys and girls (in under-20-18-16) secured 378 points to retain the overall championship status, followed by Tamil Nadu, who finished runners-up for the third straight year with 347.50 pts. For yet another year, Kerala girls fared far better than the boys, with a tally of 259 points (boys 119 pts) to help the state retain the overall championship. Uttar Pradesh with 171.50 points became the team champions in boys' section, while Kerala claimed the honours in the girls' section with 259 points. S Geetha of Andhra Pradesh was the cynosure of all eyes in the meet for her sterling performance in winning a triple gold, all in record times, in 100m, 200m and 400m run. While three records were set on the last day today, the effort of Suman Devi of Uttar Pradesh in girls under-20 Javelin event was considered to be the icing on the cake. Suman Devi, a defending record holder in the event, bettered her earlier mark by 3.89 metres, achieving a distance of 48.88, in her second attempt. But the striking note in her gold haul was that she finished way ahead of others as the second placed M K Prajisha of Kerala could achieve only 43.20 metres. Suman Devi, trained by J S Bhatia, who also coaches top distance runner Gulab Chand, had thrown the javelin to 44.49m in Bangalore last year to get into the record books. In the girls u-20 triple jump, Kerala's Kunju Mol set a new mark achieving a distance of 12.67 metres, surpassing the earlier best of 12.40 set by Kalpana Das of West Bengal in Salem in 2000. In fact, Tamil Nadu's K N Priya, who gave a tough fight to Kunju Mol by clearing 12.65, also broke Kalpana's record and collected silver medal, while Noosheen Rajendran, also of Tamil Nadu (12.37m), took the bronze. The third record to fall today was in the (boys under-16) 5km walk in which Lokendra Singh of Manipur became the new champion by completing the gruelling distance in 22 min 48.20 secs. The old record of 22 min 51.30 stood in the name of Chandresh Yadav (MP), set in 1996 at Jalandhar. In all 19 new meet records were set by 18 competitors in the five-day event, during which 114 finals were held. Individual trophies in each category (both in boys and girls under-20-18-16 sections) were not given away as results in seven events have been withheld for verification of the respective winners' age. (PTI)

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