Nine new meet records were set on the penultimate day of the 57th State Schools Athletics Championship even as hosts Ernakulam overtook reigning champions Palakkad in the overall standings at the Maharaja’s College Stadium on Monday.
The performances, nearly without exception, underlined the quality of Kerala’s rising talent as six of the new records were better than the national school-level showing. Chithra P U bagged her third gold of the meet as she bettered her own national record in 1500m by 10 seconds. Kozhikode’s Jessy Joseph, who also clocked an impressive time in the middle-distance run, finished behind Chithra.
Ernakulam’s Nasimudheen M N leaped his way into the record books as he won the 110m hurdles for St George’s HSS, Kothamangalam. Meanwhile, in the junior girls’ 4 kg hammer throw, which was expected to be a three-way battle between Nistymole C Kanakkal, Deepa Joshy and Anju Kuriakose, ended with the latter winning the gold, in the process correcting the meet record set by the former in 2012. Anju, of St George’s, also bettered the national record by around four metres, with a 36.04m effort.
The long distance races held earlier in the day also saw the birth of two new meet records as Neena K T of HS, Parali, walked her way to gold while Athira K R of St John’s HS, Nellipoil, continued her impressive form, clinching her second gold of the meet, emerging victorious in the 1500m race. In the senior girls’ triple jump, Athira Surendran once again got the better of Jenimol Joy, defeating the SAI Thiruvananthapuram trainee for the second time, following the win in the long jump event. In javelin throw, Prajitha C K of Malappuram lived upto expectations and outclassed her opponents to take the gold.
However, there was an air of disappointment in the senior boys’ high jump event as Sreenith Mohan, though he equalled his own national mark of 2.1 m, failed to clear the 2.12m mark after three attempts. In the junior girls 100m hurdles, Dibi Sebastian of SH GHS, Bharananganam, clocked better than the national record.
Table toppers Ernakulam and second-placed Palakkad have broken clear of the pack but seem headed for a photo finish on the concluding day, Tuesday.