Lucknow | High jumper Jinu Maria Manuel on Tuesday became only second athlete from Kerala to win women’s high jump in Open National Athletics championships’ history.
The women’s high jump, introduced in the open nationals programme in the seventh edition in 1969 at Bangalore, had witnessed Elizabeth K Mathai win the first gold medal for Kerala during 1983 at Jamshedpur.
She completed a hat-trick of victories in the nationals by winning the next two editions while representing the Combined Indian Universities team.
Other high jumpers like P S Bindu, Bobby Aloysius, Jaicy Thomas, A K Deepa, Tessymol Joseph and Steny Michael had won over the years by representing either their departmental units or other states.
Jinu cleared a personal best height of 1.82m to achieve the honour today while national record-holder Sahana Kumari of Karnataka and 20-year-old Swapna Barman from ONGC took the minor medals with an identical height of 1.77m.
Long jumper V Neena also extended her winning streak with a leap of 6.43m, while her Railway teammate M A Prajusha (6.02) and Tamil Nadu’s G Karthika (5.95) were the other medalists in that event.
Suriya Loganathan of Railways and G Lakshmanan from Services won gold medals in their respective divisions over 5000m on the opening day of 56th Open National Athletics championship.
Suriya won the opening event of the four-day meet clocking 16:05.90. Earlier she had clinched back-to-back titles at the 2012 (Chennai) and 2013 (Ranchi) editions.
Lakshmanan too successfully retained his title from the Kolkata edition last year with a time of 14:16.07. His first Open victory at this distance came in Ranchi three years ago.