Bhubaneswar : Reliance Foundation athlete Animesh Kujur made a big splash at the 27th National Federation Senior Athletics Competition by getting personal bests in the 200m and 100m sprints with timings of 20.62s and 10.50s respectively. The 20-year-old is now the second fastest 200m sprinter ever in India history behind fellow RF athlete Amlan Borgohain.

“I worked hard to reach the timing, this is not just my win but this victory is for my coach Martin Owens. I believed that if I make a perfect start I will own the race. The target is to breach the Olympic qualification mark,” expressed Animesh, who trains at the Odisha Reliance Foundation Athletics High Performance Center. The sprinter will now shift base to Europe for international training and upcoming competitions.

Pragyan Sahu (Silver) and Moumita Mondal (Bronze) marked their personal bests in the women’s 100m Hurdles with timings of 13.40s and 13.64s respectively as RF athletes bagged two podium finishes in the event. Moumita showed impressive fortitude as she won two bronzes on the same evening. Ashok Dandasena qualified for the 1500m finals with a personal best effort of 3:46.49s but couldn’t finish on the podium inspite of an impressive effort. Young Laxmipriya Kisan also continued her improvement by registering two personal bests.

Talking about the athletes performance, Martin Owens, Head Coach at Odisha Reliance Foundation Athletics High-Performance Centre said, “It was an excellent campaign and the athletes exceeded our expectations. Very proud of Ramandeep Kaur who showed a lot of grit and overcame a fever to win bronze in the 400m hurdles. Pragyan put in another commanding performance and is looking very good. We had a lot of personal bests too with Animesh leading the way. Laxmipriya Kisan got two PBs too in the 800m and 1500m events. Susmita Tigga and Laluprasad Bhoi finished just outside of the medals in fourth place but showed a lot of promise again.“

Gold rush for throwers

On the track, Ramandeep Kaur clinched a bronze in the women’s 400m Hurdles in 1:01.29s. RF’s endurance program athletes clean swept the 5000m event as Sawan Barwal sealed gold with 13:51.01s, Harmanjot Singh finished second with 13:51.61 and Kiran Matre finished third by clocking 13:52.62s to round off the podium. Mohammed Afsal secured a bronze in the men’s 800m event with a timing of 1:50.44s.

The Reliance Foundation jumpers and throwers had a spate of remarkable performances with Moumita cliching her second bronze medal in the meet in the long jump event with a leap of 6.18m. High Jumper Swadhin Majhi won a silver by clearing 2.09m. Damneet Singh struck gold in hammer throw with a best effort of 66.28m and discus thrower Nidhi Rani also grabbed gold with a throw of 52.55m.

RF had the top two finishers in the women’s Hammer Thrower event as Harshita Sehrawat clinched the gold medal (59.1m) and Tanya Chaudhary won silver (56.51m).

Pole Vaulters Rosy Meena and Baranica Elangovan delivered another gold and silver with efforts of 4.05m and 4.00m respectively during the meet.