National Open: Patience pays for Parul and Abhishek

Training with steeple chaser Avinash Sable, the stunning national record-breaking machine, has made Parul Chaudhary look at life in a new light. The Asian bronze medallist played a smart waiting game, shadowing Maharashtra’s Komal Jagadale for a major part of the 5000m before making her move in the final lap for the gold in the 60th National Open athletics championships at the Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.

And then, the 26-year-old opened up about what’s running in her mind.

“Training with Olympian Avinash has motivated me in a big way. At first, I found the training load too heavy and used to get tired fast. But after seeing the others in the group work hard, I felt I could do it too,” Railway’s Parul, who hails from Meerut, told Sportstar shortly after her victory.

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“A few months ago, I was also looking at big goals like Avinash but I was down with coronavirus and my body became weak. Now, I’m getting close to my old form. I want to do well like Avinash and now my big target is next year’s Asian Games.”

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Parul, who narrowly missed making the cut for the Tokyo Olympics through the world ranking route, is keen on two events, the 5000m and the 3000m steeple chase. “Both are my favourite events,” she said.

And Avinash’s coach Amrish Kumar feels Parul has it in her to produce stunning times too.

“She is capable of improving her personal best by nearly 20 seconds in both the 5000m and the steeple chase. Her chances are better in the 5000m, and she is an Asian medallist in that event, but she wants to do both,” said Amrish.

“Her running style and speed endurance have improved now, the timings will do too.”

Abhishek Pal, also from Railways, won the men’s 5000m after watching Services’ inter-State National champion Kartik Kumar and a couple of others do much of the early leading from a vantage point before making his crucial strike.

Pole vault gold for Pavithra

And Tamil Nadu’s Pavithra Venkatesh took the women’s pole vault beating Railway stars Mariya Jaison and Krishna Rachan.

With Olympian V. Revathi, failing to make the start, and under-20 Worlds mixed relay medallist Summy failing to qualify for the final, the expected women’s 400m battle between the two fell apart. But in the men’s section, Services V. Muhammed Ajmal who was his making his quartermile debut at the Nationals, was the fastest qualifier to the final with 47.08s.

Telangana Sports Minister V. Srinivas Goud inaugurated the five-day meet.

The results (finals):

Men: 5000m: 1. Abhishek Pal (Rly) 14:16.35s; 2. Dharmender (Ser) 14:17.20; 3. Ajay Kumar (Ser) 14:20.98.

Women: 5000m: 1. Parul Chaudhary (Rly) 15:59.69s; 2. Komal Jagdale (Mah) 16:01.43; 3. Sanjivani Jadhav (Mah) 16:19.18.

Pole vault: 1. Pavithra Venkatesh (TN) 3.90m; 2. Mariya Jaison (Rly) 3.80; 3. Krishna Rachan (Rly) 3.60.

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