Vithya brushes away discomfort to win an easy gold

Jyothi Yarraji on the way to the women’s 100m hurdles gold and meet record at the National Games in Panaji on Monday.

Jyothi Yarraji on the way to the women’s 100m hurdles gold and meet record at the National Games in Panaji on Monday.
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Jyothi Yarraji celebrates her 100m hurdles victory and meet record at the National Games in Panaji on Monday.

Jyothi Yarraji celebrates her 100m hurdles victory and meet record at the National Games in Panaji on Monday.
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

Tamil Nadu’s Vithya Ramraj who won the women’s 400m gold comfortably.

Tamil Nadu’s Vithya Ramraj who won the women’s 400m gold comfortably.
| Photo Credit:
Stan Rayan

For a few minutes before the women’s 400m final, Vithya Ramraj was wondering whether she should skip the big race. The long season had drained her, she was unwell too. But despite the discomfort the 25-year-old, who trains in Chennai, won the gold comfortably in the 37th National Games at the Bambolim Athletics Stadium and with a time that surprised her.

“I had fever, dysentery, and vomiting because the food was changing every day. I thought I shouldn’t run but my coach said I should. In fact, I was the last to come to the call room,” Vithya, the Asian Games 4x400m relay silver medallist, told The Hindu after her victory which came in 52.85s.

“I didn’t think I would run this sort of time, I thought it would be something like 54s.”

Vithya left the rest behind midway through the home stretch and won by a good margin with D. Jyothikasri (53.48) and Jisna Mathew (54.40) taking silver and bronze.

There were no surprises as Asian champion Jyothi Yarraji, one of the big stars here, and Tejas Shirse — both coached by James Hillier at the Reliance Foundation — won the women’s and men’s sprint hurdles without raising a sweat and in the process breaking the Games record too.

It was one of those rare days when Jyothi did not go under 13 seconds but it pulled silver medallist Nithya Ramraj to a personal best time (13.36s).

“This season is over and I just wanted to see what I could do with a free, relaxed mind. Of course, I’m not satisfied with my time, I want to get better and better. I want to be hungrier and try to get faster times since we have the Olympics next year,” said Jyothi.

Meanwhile, Muhammed Anees found his form in his season’s last long jump. The 27-year-old who had been struggling to touch 8m this year produced an impressive 8.15m effort in his final jump to take the gold. It equalled his personal best which came in May last year.

The results (winners only):

Men: 400m: K. Avinash (TN) 46.88s; 1500m: Ritesh Ohre (MP) 3:40.93s; 110m hurdles: Tejas Shirse (Mah) 13.71s (MR, Old: Siddhanth Thingalaya’s 13.83, 2015); long jump: Muhammed Anees (Ker) 8.15m; discus: Gagandeep Singh (Ser) 55.72m; 20km walk: Suraj Panwar (Utr) 1:27.43s.

Women: 400m: Vithya Ramraj (TN) 52.85s; 1500m: Lili Das (WB) 4:15.70s; 100m hurdles: Jyothi Yarraji (AP) 13.22s (MR, Old: 13.30, 2022); shot put: Abha Khatua (Mah) 17.09m; 20km walk: Priyanka Goswami (UP) 1:36.35s (MR, Old: Munita Prajapati’s 1:38.20, 2022).

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