Annu dominates, sets another record at Javelin NationalsMay 9, 2022
Seasoned thrower Annu Rani lit up the Javelin Nationals in Jamshedpur with a national record-breaking effort of 63.82m on her very first attempt. The Uttar Pradesh athlete has been India’s best woman thrower by a distance for almost a decade now. Sunday was the ninth time she broke the national record as she improved on her previous mark of 63.24m set last year at the Federation Cup in Patiala. Annu’s next three throws yielded 60.10m, 56.60m and 58.13m before she passed on the last two attempts.
The gulf between Annu and her competitors in Jamshedpur was quite large. The silver medal went to Sanjana Choudhary for 53.87m – almost 10m behind Annu’s gold-winning attempt. Annu has been consistently improving on her own national mark since first breaching it in 2014 with 58.83m.
Annu had had a quiet season until now after the disappointment at the Tokyo Olympics where she finished 14th in the qualification round. Despite another record-breaking throw, Annu’s hunger to go further won’t be satisfied. The 30-year-old thrower had worked closely with German biomechanics expert and Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra’s coach Klaus Bartonietz in the run-up to the Tokyo Games.
In the men’s U-18 (700g javelin) category, Yash Saini of Haryana finished on top with a best attempt of 67.42m. Saini, taking part in his first national-level meet, produced a string of consistent throws of 65.21, 63.24, 64.05, and 65.46m on Sunday. The 17-year-old was, however, not pleased with his results as he feels he belongs in the 70m club.
“I was hoping to throw with an international javelin. I have thrown 72m in training and would have been happy if I had matched that, but considering the slight wind blowing towards us and my niggle, I am happy that I won gold on debut. I have been training for three years, but it is only now that my coaches Arvind Kumar and Dharmender believed I was ready,” the youngster said.
In the men’s U-20 category, which had only five participants, Vivek Kumar of Madhya Pradesh took top spot with a best throw of 68.67m. The results don’t augur well with the U20 World Championships just three months away. India is yet to see another javelin thrower on the podium in the Junior Worlds since Chopra’s gold in 2016. The performance level at the U20 men’s event can be gauged by the fact that the gold-winning throw was more than 17m short of Neeraj’s age-group national record of 86.48m.
The results in the women’s U-16 (500g javelin) event was uninspiring with the gold going to Disha of Delhi for just 34.87m – about 15m less than the age-group national record of 49.31m set by Deepika of Haryana last year. The U-16 women’s event had just four entries.