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Saraswati, Hari Sankar strike gold

Bangalore: Bengalís Hari Sankar Roy clinched a gold for Bengal in menís high jump, while Saraswati Saha of Railways emerged the fastest woman on the opening day of the 43rd Open National athletics on Sunday.

The day was also marked by the feat of Tamil Naduís V.S. Sureka, who created a national record in the womenís pole-vault with an effort of 3.51 metres.

At the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Hari Sankar jumped 2.12 metres to claim the top spot, while Tamil Naduís Benedict Strity (who also had jumped to a 2.12m high) and Servicesí M. Lorens (2.09) had to be satisfied with silver and bronze, respectively.

Saraswati, on the other hand, was a runaway winner in her event. Her gold-winning timing of 11.70 seconds was well ahead of Keralaís Greeshma (12.09) and Railwaysí Rakhi Saha (12.17). Meanwhile, continuing from her good form at the recent inter-state meet in Jamshedpur where she finished first, the 19-year-old from Chennai Sureka shattered the 3.45 metres mark set at New Delhi last year by Karamjit Kaur (Police).

Faring below her best here, Karamjit had to be satisfied in sharing silver with Suman of Haryana, both coming out with an identical 3.30m in the event.

Busan Asian Games gold medallist Sunita Rani ran away with gold in 1500 metres but with a lower-than-expected performance, timing 4:17.57s, much below than her own national record breaking effort of 4:06.03 in the South Korean city.

Karnatakaís little-known sprinter Vilas Nilagund, in a burst of 10.70 seconds, grabbed the gold in menís 100m, pushing back the challenge of Piyush Kumar of Railways (10.73) and LICís Sandeep Sarkaria (10.76).

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