New Delhi: Asian Games bronze medallist O P Jaisha stole the show by winning the women's 5000m race on the opening day of National Open Athletics Championships even as a few top stars pulled out of the meet, yesterday.
Jaisha, who was representing Railways, won the race in 16.13.61 ahead of another Railway athlete L Surya (16:19.99) and Kavita Raut (16:32.03) of ONGC. Jaisha had won a bronze in 1500m in Incheon Asian Games.
Services athletes swept the top three positions in men's 5000m race with Nitender Singh (14:16.28) coming first ahead of Kheta Ram (14:16.67) and Man Singh (14:17.39).
All the podium finishers returned with mediocre performances in the season-ending event.
Jaisha said that she took part in the season ending event as she wanted to give a gold to her employers.
"I have not been in training after winning bronze in Asian Games. But I wanted to give a gold to my department (Railways) and so I took part. In the absence of Preeja (Sreedharan), I knew that I can win the gold. It was easier to win the race in her absence but my timing would have been better had she been there," Jaisha said after the race.
"I will take part in the National Games for Kerala (early next year) and then my aim will be to do well in next year's World Championships (in Beijing). I have qualified for World Championships in 5000m and I now want to qualify in 1500m," she said.
"I am not an endurance runner and I don't want to do too many rounds. So, I prefer 1500m to 5000m," she added.
Asian Games silver medallist Manju Bala did not turn up in women's hammer throw though she entered her name for the event. In her absence, Gunjan Singh of Railways bagged the gold in 58.38m while Ritu Dhiman (Uttar Pradesh) and Sarita P Singh (Railways) were second and third in 56.26m and 55.65m respectively.