Tamil Nadu boy Dharun Ayyasamy shattered an 11-year-old national record in the men’s 400m hurdles at the Run Adam Federation Cup in Patiala. With this performance he matched the qualifying time required to be a part of the Indian contingent for XXI Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.
Dharun Ayyasamy gave his best in serious illness
Dharun Ayyasamy, who was also the part of the Indian 4x400m relay team at the Rio Olympics, crossed the finish line at Run Adam in 49.45 seconds to erase the old mark of 49.51 seconds set by Joseph Abraham in Osaka in 2007.
The time Ayyasamy clocked was immediately significant as it matched the qualifying guidelines of 49.45 seconds set by the AFI to determine the Indian track and field squad for the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast.
Dharun Ayyasamy finished ahead of state-mates T Santosh Kumar (50.14seconds) and M Ramachandran (51.61 seconds).
Ayyasamy’s performance was all the more impressive for it came with the athlete still recovering from a serious illness.
In all, nine athletes crossed AFI’s qualifying mark from the championships. The 21-year-old Dharun, who just recovered from a bout of typhoid, clocked 49.45 seconds, the exact the qualifying standard for the 2018 Gold Coast CWG, to the disbelief of the spectators at the NIS Patiala.
Dharun thus erased Joseph G Abraham’s 10-year-old national record of 49.94 made in August 2007 in Osaka.
It was a clean sweep by Tamil Nadu with Santhosh Kumar ad Ramachandran M winning the silver and bronze respectively clocking 50.14 seconds and 51.61 seconds.
Dharun Ayyasamy eyeing Commonwealth Glory
Dharun has not won any major national or international event — his last medal had come at an Indian Grand Prix event in Bengaluru, in July 2016. His effort at that meet — 50.51 — was his earlier best.
He was part of the Indian 4x400m relay race team in the Rio Olympics, where he ran in the third leg. The quartet was disqualified.
After completing his record breaking race, Dharun Ayyasamy said, “I reached here on February 24 and soon after arriving here, I suffered from typhoid. I recovered and then started light training only on March 2. So, I could not do any proper training before this championships. I ran in the individual 400m race on March 6 and finished sixth. Apart from that I did not run any full 400m race.”
“Leave alone making a national record and qualifying for the Commonwealth Games, I had not thought of winning the race. I was just participating in the race. I was not hoping to qualify for the CWG, I was thinking of trying for the Asian Games, but it just happened,” he added.
“I have worked hard with my coach to recover and train. It is a very good feeling to break national record and qualify for CWG,” he said.
Along with Dharun Ayyasamy other young Indian athletes also qualify
Arpinder Singh earned the right to improve on the bronze medal he won in the triple jump at the Glasgow Games in 2014 by clearing 16.61m to finish 1 cm above the qualifying guidelines of 16.60m set by the AFI.
Arpinder was in danger of finishing outside the qualification guidelines, but managed to find the mark in his fifth jump which was also his final legal jump of the competition.
Hima Das of Assam, who had already qualified in the women’s 400m race earlier, blitzed the field in the 200m event winning in a credible time of 23.37 seconds which was just.07 seconds shy of the meet record of 23.30 set by PT Usha in 1998.
Although Das missed the CWG qualifying guidelines of 22.60 seconds, it was a credible performance by the 18 year old who finished more than a second clear of second place PJ Sneha (24.47 seconds).
Another strong performance that fell short of the CWG qualifying guidelines came in the 1500m through Jinson Johnson, who clocked 3.39:69 seconds that was just 0.19 seconds shy of the qualifying guidelines of 3:39:50 seconds.
Johnson’s mark was also a new meet record, erasing the old mark of 3:41:12 seconds recorded 11 years ago by Chatholi Hamza.
Johnson finished ahead of Manjit Singh and Bir Singh who clocked 3:42:24 seconds and 3:42:28 seconds, respectively.