Guntur (Andhra Pradesh): Defending champions Kerala began their campaign on a positive note at the 33rd National Junior Athletic Meet at the Acharya Nagarjuna University stadium here, winning two gold, and three silver and bronze each, on day one.
P S Prabhavathi, who hails from Ponnani in Malappuram district, and Abhinand Sundarasen, a native of Ambalavayal in Wayanad district, struck gold for the state.
Prabhavathi won the yellow metal in the U-16 girls' long jump event by leaping to a distance of 5.58 meters, while Abhinand clocked 3:54.84 seconds to finish first in the U-20 boy's 1,500m race.
Haryana led the medal tally on day one by clinching seven gold, four silver and five bronze.
Kerala won their first medal of the five-day meet through Gayathri Sivakumar in the U-18 girl's high jump. She bagged the silver by scaling 1.71 meter, finishing behind Haryana's Rubina Yadav who set a new meet record (1.81m), erasing Swapna Barman's 1.71m record created in 2013.
Long wait for medals
The medals were slow in coming for Kerala as the state could finish on the podium in the throw and jump events held in the morning.
However, the athletes from the state made amends in the afternoon by winning six back-to-back medals. Adarsh Gopi, a native of Iritty in Kannur district, won the silver in the U-18 boy's 1,500m with a timing of 3:57.36 seconds. He lost the gold by about a second to AFI's Ankit who clocked 3:56.90 seconds. M Ajith of CFD VHSS, Mathur, Palakkad, stood third.
C Babitha, who hails from Vaniyamkulam in Palakkad, accounted for bronze in the U-20 girls' 1,500m race with a timing of 4:44.47 seconds. In the U-16 girls' 2,000 meter, C Chandni, a native of Chittur, Palakkad, won the silver, while in the U-14 girls' triathlon, her district-mate K A Anamika finished third.
Three athletics from the state, who were widely expected to win gold in their respective events, had to be content with silver and bronze. Gayathri, who clinched gold in high jump in the last edition of the meet, and Chandni, who took home gold in the recently concluded National Junior School Meet in Bhopal, managed to win only silver here, while another gold medal hope C Babitha had to settle for bronze in 1,500m.
Stars of the day
Bihar's Avinash Kumar and Haryana's Jyothi accounted for the two national records created on day one. Avinash broke Sunaram Murmu's (Odisha) 2008 record of 6.63m in U-14 boy's long jump while leaping to a remarkable 6.79m. Sunil (6.40m) from Haryana bagged the silver and Odisha's Lakhan Murmu (6.27m) settled for the bronze medal. Jyothi threw the javelin to a new mark of 41.24m to erase the old record of 39.69m set by Tamil Nadu's Hemamalini in 2015.
Despite being a national championship, no photo-finish camera was employed for the track events on the first day. The organizers were forced to use a hand timer to record timings in the middle-distance events held in the afternoon after the photo-finish system developed a technical snag.