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Neelam in limelight
- Saraswati, Pinki, Soma among medals on final day too
Saraswati secured gold in 200m

Bangalore: World Championship finalist Neelam J. Singh set a new meet record in discus throw on the final day of the 43rd National Open Athletic Championships on Tuesday as Railways were crowned overall champions.

Neelam hurled the discus to a distance of 61.17 metres, lesser than her personal best but enough to rewrite her own mark of 59.18 metres set in Calcutta in 1998.

Saraswati Saha, Pinki Pramanik and Soma Biswas, Bengal athletes but sporting Railway colours were also in the limelight. While Saha and Pramanik won the women’s 200 metres gold and 800 metres silver, respectively, Biswas finished third in the heptathlon.

As the curtains came down on the three-day event, Services (151 points), and Railways (216 points) retained the team championship in the men’s and women’s sections, respectively.

Police’s Navnidh Singh, who set a new meet record in 110 metres hurdles, and Tamil Nadu’s V.S. Surekha, who cleared 3.51 metres in pole vault to set a new national mark, were declared individual champions in the men’s and women’s sections.

In shot-put, Bahadur Singh (Police) equalled the 1998 meet record by hurling to a distance of 19.59.

The men’s 200 metres gold was bagged by Railways’ Piyush Kumar, who overcame the challenge from Karnataka’s Vilas Nilgund (21.42) with a timing of 21.29 seconds.

The bronze medallist at the recent Asian Athletic Championships, L. Aruna Devi (Railways), picked up gold in women’s 10,000 metres, making it in 36 minutes and 07.3 seconds.

Decathlete Kulwinder Singh won the gold with a tally of 7,094 points, a below-par performance by the Services star.

Railways’ Gulab Chand captured his second gold of the meet when he won the 5000 metres event. The seasoned campaigner had earlier bagged the top honours in 1,500 metres.

P.S. Primesh of LIC picked up the men’s 800 metres gold, clocking one minute, 49.61 seconds, while J.J. Shobha of Railways emerged tops with an effort of 6.10 metres in women’s long-jump, an event where the absence of World Championship bronze-medallist Anju Bobby George was felt.

After reigning supreme in long jump, Shobha made it a golden double on the final day as she grabbed the heptathlon event hands down.

Shobha tallied 5,733 points, way ahead of compatriots P. Bindu (4,837), the silver winner, and Biswas (4,806).

In the women’s 800 metres, Pramanik’s event, Railways’ Sunita came first in two minutes 07.65 seconds while Punjab’s Ramala Devi finished third at 2:09.78. (PTI)

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