Guntur, Andhra Pradesh: His family is caught in a vicious debt trap and is facing revenue recovery measures, but that only strengthened Anandhu Vijayan’s resolve.
The youngster from Kerala triumphed over all odds to annex gold in the U-18 boys’ 400m hurdles on the penultimate day of the 33rd National Junior Athletic Meet at the Acharya Nagarjuna University Stadium here on Sunday. He clocked 53.33 seconds.
The fourth day of the five-day meet saw athletes from the state clinching nine gold, five silver and three bronze to take the total tally to 298 points. Kerala have so far won 19 gold, and 13 silver and bronze each.
Haryana, with 328 points, continued to lead the point tally, winning a total of 23 gold, 14 silver and 10 bronze.
Kerala are expected to go all out in relay events and 800m finals in different categories on the concluding day of the meet to retain the overall title.
Kerala continued their domination in track events on Friday winning as many as nine gold medals. Apart from Anandhu, P O Sayana (U-20 girls’400m hurdles), J Vishnupriya (U-18 girls’ 400m hurdles), Lizbeth Karoline Joseph (U-18 girls’ triple jump), M Sreesankar (U-20 boys’ long jump), and K G Jessen (U-20 boys’ pole vault) also accounted for gold.
Sreesankar, hailing from Palakkad, leapt a distance of 7.72m in his first attempt to better the national record of 7.57m set by Madhya Pradesh’s Ankit Sharma.
Son of former internationals S Murali and Bijimol, the youngster booked a ticket to next year’s under-20 World Championship in Finland with that effort. The silver went to K K Muhammed Salih, also from Kerala, who cleared a distance of 7.56 meters in his final attempt.
Lizbeth Karoline Joseph won the state’s second gold from the jumping pit by sailing to 12.35 meters in her only valid jump in the U-18 girls’ triple jump event.
Kerala sweep hurdles medals
Kerala clinched as many as three gold and two silver medals in the 400m hurdles in different age categories. After Anandhu won the state’s first gold in the U-18 boys’ section, P O Sayana, a native of Neeramankara in Thiruvananthapuram district, clocked 1:01.01 seconds in the U-20 girls’ category to pick up the state’s second gold. Kerala’s Abigail Arokianathan finished second.
In the U-18 girls’ category, J Vishnu Priya, who hails from Elappully in Palakkad district, clinched gold with a timing of 1:02.47 seconds. Her district-mate K Niba finished second in the event.
Top show by Jessen
K G Jessen from Alappuzha put up an impressive show in the U-20 boys’ pole vault by scaling a height of 4.70 meters to grab the yellow metal. Kerala have so far won three gold and two silver medals from pole vault events. All the three gold were won by athletes from the Pala-based Jumps Academy.
Solid performance by relay teams
Kerala dominated the relay events held on Sunday by winning 4x100m events in both the U-20 boys’ and girls’ categories.
The state also won gold in the U-16 girls’ medley relay and bronze in both the U-18 girls’ and boys’ categories.
C M Athira Mohan grabbed silver in the heptathlon while Nelsa Saji added another bronze to the state’s kitty in the U-20 girls’ shotput.