PALA: Ernakulam took an early lead in the 61st State Schools Athletics Championship grabbing seven gold as five meet records were created on Day One of the competition that got under way at the Pala Municipal Stadium on Friday. Out of the five records, four were scripted by Ernakulam athletes, revealing their supremacy. Palakkad are second with four gold and 32 points.
It was Parli HS’s Ajith P N, who created the first record of the day.
The mercurial 5000m runner, an individual champion in the earlier editions of the national school meet, ran a lead race and pocketed the gold with a time of 14:48.40 in the senior boys’ category.
In the pursuit, the Palakkad athlete bettered Bibin George’s met mark of 15:08.40 set in 2015. The timing was even better than the national mark of 14:51.97 which is in Odisha athlete Birsa Oram’s name. Mar Basil HSS, Kothamangalam’s Anumol Thambi won the senior girls’ 3000m with a record. She finished in 9:50.89 to eclipse C Babitha’s 9:37.02 mark set in 2016. Anumol even bettered Shameena Jabbar’s existing national mark of 9:55.62.
Abhisekh Mathew of Mar Basil clocked 48.88s to win record-gold in junior boys 400m. Having had couple of international competitions under his belt, Abhisekh went unchallenged on his way to gold.
In junior boys’ javelin throw, Yadav Naresh Kripal, a Gujarat import of Mar Basil, won gold with an astonishing throw of 61.66m. The Class X student who joined the Kothamangalam school this year registered his best in the fourth attempt.
Yadav, a native of Rajkot, was spotted by Mar Basil official during the Youth Nationals held in Hyderabad earlier this year where he had finished outside the medal bracket. The final gold of the day came through Maneed GVHS’s Sreekanth K M in the junior boys’ horizontal jump. The lanky athlete leapt 7.05m to pocket the gold.
Gujarat lad ‘spears’ into Kerala
Athletes from other states turning up for Kerala schools is not a rare scenario. Boys from as far as Manipur and Jammu & Kashmir have cut their teeth representing some of the leading teams. That’s why Yadav Naresh Kripal’s name in the start-list didn’t evoke much of an interest among spectators. However, the Gujarat lad managed to draw attention after one of his gigantic javelin throws crossed the 60m mark. Representing Mar Basil HSS in the junior boys’ category, the Rajkot-born
athlete revealed his capabilities with his fourth throw that left his rivals competing for the second spot. “I was chosen by the school during the youth nationals in Hyderabad,” Yadav said. He claimed to have been training alone in Gujarat as he couldn’t find any coach.“ Once I threw a javelin, I knew I could excel in it. Since then I’ve been training alone by watching YouTube tutorials,” he said. Admitting he hasn’t heard about Neeraj Chopra, the current world junior champion and world record holder, he said he too has the stuff to make it big. He felt Kerala has more sports infrastructure than Gujarat.