The Telegraph
Tuesday , June 14 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shaken off the rust: Sushmita
- Heptathlete gives Bengal second gold

Calcutta: Bengal’s Sushmita Singha Roy was not at her usual best, but that did not stop her from winning the gold in the National Senior Inter-State Athletics Championships, in Bangalore, on Monday.

The heptathlete garnered 5625 points and her performance was much better than the last time when she was runner-up. This was Bengal’s second gold of the tournament after Sheikh Mortaza won one in the 400 metres on Sunday.

Sushmita was happy with her performance. “I am pretty happy. The gold will serve as a huge confidence booster for me. You can say I have shaken off the rust in style,” Sushmita, who competed in her first tournament since the November Asian Games, said from Bangalore.

Sushmita could not give her best in some of the events. “I was disappointed with my timing in the hurdles and 800m,” she said. A downpour before the 800m affected her performance on Monday while she wobbled a bit in the hurdles on Sunday.

Sushmita clocked 14.53 secs in hurdles, 24.52 secs in 200m while she jumped as high as 1.75m and as long as 5.98 metres. She threw the javelin 39.74m and shot putted 12.09m.

Sushmita had an excellent chance to qualify for the London Olympics if she could have managed to garner 5900 points in the event. But she vows to come back strongly in her next event the Asian Championships in July.

“It is no big deal that I could not meet the required criterion. I will get some more chances to qualify for the Games. I am looking forward to the Asian Championships,” said Sushmita.

Incidentally, Sushmita’s plan to train in Berlin will also depend on the July meet. “I will have to make the 5900-mark to qualify for the Berlin training. So, this will be one of the most crucial meets of the year for me,” said Sushmita.

Her coach, Kuntal Roy said Sushmita could have been among the top two in the Asian Games if she had given the same performance in Guangzhou. However, he was pleased with his ward’s performance. “She was excellent today, much better than the rest of the field. I am not overwhelmed but I am excited that this gold will improve her world rankings too,” said Kuntal.

The heptathlete was embroiled in a controversy last month. She was going to leave Bengal and turn up for Jharkhand. But the state sports minister Madan Mitra promised her financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh.

Sushmita said that she is indebted to Mitra. “I would like to dedicate my gold to the sports minister,” said Sushmita.

After Sushmita’s gold, Bengal tally stands to two gold and two silvers. The two silvers were won by Asha Roy in 100m and Mallika Mandal in high jump. Asha clocked 12.20 sec while Mallika jumped 176m.

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