Hajilol, Sonika claim cross country titlesFebruary 22, 2021
Parasappa Madevappa Hajilol of Karnataka and Haryana athlete Sonika won the men’s and women’s 10-km races in the 55th National Cross Country Championship at ATF Golf Meadows in Dera Bassi.
The 25-year-old Parasappa Hajilol, who hails from Bijapur and trains in Dharwad, surprised not only more seasoned Vikram Bangriya (Madhya Pradesh) and Maharashtra steeplechaser Adesh Yadav but also a host of experienced runners such as Abhishek Pal (Railways) and AB Belliappa, Darshan Singh, Hari Singh and defending champion Anish Thapa Magar (Services).
In the men’s race, 224 runners were at the start but Parasappa Hajilol’s time of 31 minutes and 13.21 seconds was less than a minute slower than Anish Thapa Magar’s 30:31.00 in the previous edition in Warangal in January 2020.
As many as 173 women lined up for the start of their race. Sonika, 21-year-old from Rohtak, and Maharashtra runners Komal Jagdale and Nikita Raut stunned defending champion Kavita Yadav and last year’s runner-up Varsha Devi (Railways) into fourth and fifth places, respectively.
Defending champion Services held back Railways’ challenge to retain its grip on the men’s
team title with each of its top four runners finishing in the top 10. Abhishek Pal was the only Railways runner with a top 10 finish on Sunday. But with the others in top 20, it was able to drive Madhya Pradesh into the third place.
In the women’s team event, Haryana unseated Railways from the top spot. With Sonika, Sanju, Munni Devi and Bharti each securing a top-10 finish, the Haryana quartet pipped Railways to the crown. Interestingly, the Railways team – Kavita Devi, Varsha Devi, Nandini Gupta and Priti Lamba – also had top-10 finishes but Haryana enjoyed a 2-point lead.