Wonder woman Aishwarya Babu of Karnataka smashed the triple jump national record with a stunning effort of 14.14m to emerge the undisputed star of the National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships here on Monday.
The 24-year-old from Bengaluru bettered Mayookha Johny’s earlier national record of 14.11m set in 2011. She touched the national mark in her third attempt on the penultimate day of the championships. She had a foul in her fourth attempt and then did not take the final two jumps.
Renu of Haryana was a distant second with an effort of 13.43m, while Karthika Gothandapani was third with 13.25m.
On Sunday only, Aishwarya had become the Indian woman to have the second longest personal best jump with an effort of 6.73m. The legendary Anju Bobby George holds the national long jump record of 6.83m. Anju had jumped better than 6.73m on three other occasions also.
Aishwarya will compete in the long jump final on Tuesday.
“I was confident that I would break the national triple jump record. I had prepared for it. I hope to break the long jump record tomorrow also,” she said after the stunning win.
“Triple jump is my main event and I don’t train much for long jump. But I can compete in both long jump and triple jump in the Commonwealth Games. Hopefully, I do well and win medals in the CWG,” she added.
The triple jump gold winner in the 2018 CWG had produced 14.64m, while the silver and bronze medallists had efforts of 14.52m and 13.92m respectively.
In long jump, the gold winner in the 2018 CWG had produced 6.84m, while the silver and bronze medallists had efforts of 6.77m and 6.75m respectively.
Daughter of a government employee father and homemaker mother, Aishwarya said her USP is the speed and explosive ability and she also revealed that she is fond of curd rice.
Her coach Aiyappa BP, who is the husband of 2010 Asian Games heptathlon bronze medallist Pramila Aiyappa, said she would always look for curd rice wherever she went.
“Considering her height and built, she has so much of explosive power and speed and that makes her stand out. All these, due to curd rice (laughs). She would look for curd rice wherever she goes,” said Aiyappa who has been with Aishwarya for two and half years.
“She was not spotted by me, she was spotted by my wife during a Railways event. When she came to me, she was having ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear and you can imagine an athlete who had ACL tear and now breaking triple jump national record.”
Aishwarya said she and her coach had to travel to Vidyanagar, some 40km from Bangalore, during the COVID-19 pandemic as Kanteerava Stadium, where she used to train, was closed.
“We had struggled a lot, going to Vidyanagar everyday. We had to take special passes but the state government and SAI had supported us a lot.”
In other events, India A team’s Amoj Jacob pulled his hamstring while running the last leg of the mixed 4x400m relay. He pulled up near the top of the final 100m stretch. The mixed 4x400m relay will be held in the Birmingham CWG (July 28 to August 8) for the first time.
In men’s discus throw, Kirpal Singh of Punjab clinched the gold with a meet record performance of 60.31m, while the corresponding women’s event was won by Navjeet Kaur Dhillon with a distance of 55.67m.
Gracena Merly of Tamil Nadu won the women’s high jump with an effort of 1.82m.
In men’s 800m, Krishan Kumar of Haryana took the gold with a time of 1:48.79, while the women’s corresponding event was won by Chanda of Delhi (2:01.67).
The India B team, comprising Mohammed Ajmal, Rupal Chaudhary, Rajesh Ramesh and Dandi Jyothika Sri, won the 4x400m mixed relay in 3:18.84 after India A’s anchor Jacob hobbled off the track after gaining the lead for his team with about 110m left in the race.
The other members of the India A team were Noah Nirmal Tom, Kiran Pahal and Aishwarya Mishra.