Thiruvananthapuram, the capital district and host of the 56th state school athletics meet, ended its Day One campaign with two record-setting golds in the long jump event in the junior division.
Devu Raj of Ayyankali Sports School, Vellayani, cleared a stunning 6.95 metres in the long jump event at University Stadium creating a new meet record in the junior boys division and, in the process, gifting Thiruvananthapuram its first gold of the 56th meet.
Devu broke a seven-year-old record of 6.84 metres set by Anoop P K in 2005.
Soon after, Thiruvananthapuram got its second gold of the day when Jenimol Joy of SAI, Thiruvananthapuram, set a new meet record by leaping 5.91 metres in the junior girls long jump event. She outleaped the 5.86 metres record set by Nayana James in 2010.
Devu had won a silver at the Schools Meet in Ranchi jumping 6.64 metres. He had started training under coach Jagadeesh P since June, which helped him win the State Inter-Club Meet with 6.56 metres and the State Amateur Athletic Meet with 6.45 metres.
The 15-year-old’s season’s best was 6.73 metres, set at the PYKKA State Athletic Meet held at Kottayam.
Devu comes from a poor background. His father Rajan had turned to driving an auto after quitting a construction job following heart ailments. Rekha is Devu’s mother and Darshana, his sister.