Uttar Pradesh's Ram Baboo shattered the national record in the men's 35km race walk event en route winning the gold medal on the concluding day of athletics competition at the National Games here on Tuesday.
Baboo, an unemployed physical education graduate, won the event in 2 hours 36 minutes 34 seconds, bettering the earlier national record of 2:40:16, which was in the name of Haryana's Juned Khan who finished second on Tuesday with a time of 2:40:51.
It is the fifth national record set at the Games, and the third in track and field events, after the women's and men's pole vault national marks by Rosy Meena Paulraj (Tamil Nadu) and Siva Subramaniam (Services) respectively.
The other two national records were in a weightlifting competition.
The 35km race walk event was introduced in India only last year in the wake of World Athletics' decision to do away with the 50km event after the Tokyo Olympics.
"I will keep working hard to replicate such time on an international platform too," Baboo said after the event.
He was the inaugural champion in the National Open Championships in Warangal last year when he won at 2:46:31
Though he clocked a faster time of 2:41:30 in the National Race Walking Championships in Ranchi in April this year, he was unable to match strides with Juned Khan who set the then national record at 2:40:16.
In the badminton events Surat, top-seeded left-hander Malvika Bansod (Maharashtra) quelled the challenge of Unnati Hooda (Haryana) in the women's singles first round with a 22-20, 21-13 win.
With victories in their respective first-round matches, second seed Aakarshi Kashyap (Chhattisgarh) and home favourite Tasnim Mir set up a mouth-watering quarterfinal battle.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra's Arjun Kadhe will meet Manish Suresh Kumar (Tamil Nadu) in the men's singles final while Gujarat's Zeel Desai will vie for the women's singles crown against Karnataka's Sharmada Balu in the competition at the Riverfront Sports Complex in Ahmedabad.
Inputs from PTI