MANGALURU:Predicting the future of an athlete is like counting eggs before they hatch. You can only assume. Still, we hope for a wonderkid. One who could give us a space in the world sporting map. Quarter-miler Jisna Mathew, the 16-year-old who emerged the second fastest in the heats here, belongs to this category. But only time will tell whether she is a one-day wonder or a genuine world-beater.
Running in lane six, Jisna finished second behind favourite MR Poovamma. The teenager, a product of Usha School of Athletics, clocked 54.68s to Poovammas’ 54.38. Jisna, who just completed her 10th standard, had won gold in the National Youth Championship in Goa last month. She had clocked 56.50s, which fetched her an Asian Youth Championship berth.
Interestingly, Jisna out-ran Tintu Luka, who finished in 54.80s. The good show in Goa had propelled Jisna to sixth position in the Asian junior rankings and with the Fed Cup timing, her personal best, Jisna might head the Asian junior ranking shortly. Coach PT Usha said if Jisna can time below 54.6s, she could make into the first five of the world youth ranking. “She is a kid and I allowed her to race so that she get practice before the Asian Championship. She was running in the front and her acceleration was slow in the first 200m. Only in the second half did she raise her tempo. She has shown she can compete with the seniors,” Usha commented.
Surprisingly, Jisna ran under the banner of the Athletic Federation of India (AFI), since she was denied berth by Kerala. According to Usha, she was omitted to accommodate VV Jisha, who managed just 61s. If Jisna could produce good timing in the final, it could benefit the 4x400m relay team. With many of the quarter-mile national campers ‘reportedly missing’, it has to be seen whether the AFI would spare a thought for junior talents.
Meanwhile, Army men Jaiveer Singh (8:48.56) and Naveen Kumar (8:49.38) qualified for the Asian Championship in 3000m steeplechase.
In the corresponding women’s event, Haryana’s Preeti Lamba bagged the title. She clinched her maiden national medal in the event clocking 10:48.86.