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Lakshmanan, Suriya defend titles

Lakshmanan, Suriya defend titles
Highlights

G Lakshmanan and L Suriya defended their titles in men\'s 5000m and women\'s 10000m race respectively as the 56th National Inter-State Athletics Championships kicked off at G M C Balayogi Stadium here on Tuesday.

Hyderabad: G Lakshmanan and L Suriya defended their titles in men's 5000m and women's 10000m race respectively as the 56th National Inter-State Athletics Championships kicked off at G M C Balayogi Stadium here on Tuesday.

The Championships served as a qualifying event for the Olympics but now could reach near the Rio Games entry standards in any event on the opening day.
25-year-old Suriya of Tamil Nadu, bagged the gold in women's 10000m, the first event of the meet, in 33 minutes 27.01 secs while training partner Swati Gadhave (Maharashtra) took the second spot in 33:45.40. Another Maharashtrian Sanjivani Jadhav clocked 33:54.77 for the bronze medal.

Tamil Nadu's Lakshmanan was the second athlete to defend the title as he won the men's 5000m race, clocking 14:06.04. He has a personal best of 13:36.62 which he registered while taking the bronze at last year's Asian championships in China.

Suresh Kumar Patel of Uttar Pradesh, the 2010 Asian junior champion, finished second behind Lakshmanan in 14:11.45 while statemate Yunus Mohammed took the bronze in 14:24.07.

In women's long jump, Kerala's V Neena also defended the title she won in the last edition in Chennai by clearing 6.45m to win the gold from pre-event favourite and teammate M A Prajusha (6.29m).

Prajusha, a silver medalist in long jump at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, had beaten Neena on two occasions this year -- at the Indian Grand Prix and Federation Cup -- both held New Delhi in April. Hence, it was a sweet revenge for Neena to upset her senior teammate.

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