Kerala and Tamil Nadu athletes dominated the proceedings in the first Reliance Foundation Youth Sports' National Athletics Championship that concluded at the Sports Authority of India Centre, Kandivali here after two days of intense competition recently.
The Kerala schools and colleges held sway by bagging a whopping 19 gold medals and they were closely followed by Tamil Nadu, who picked up 13 gold medals. GV Raja Sports Vocational Higher Secondary School, Trivandrum and Government Higher Secondary School, Paraali, Palakkad underlined Kerala's prowess in track and field by winning the junior boys and senior boys title.
But the institution that hogged the limelight was Kolkata's Charuchandra College as they reigned supreme in the college category winning both the boys and girls titles respectively. No school or college ruled the roost like the Charuchandra athletes during the championship as they clinched eight gold medals.
There were tales aplenty of individual brilliance with six athletes bagging a golden double. Three of them were from Kerala (middle-distance runners Adharsh Gopi, Anumol Thampi and MD Thara), two belonged to Hyderabad (sprinter Nithya Gandhe and middle-distance runner Donthu Bhagyalakshmi) and the other from Kolkata (middle-distance runner Sashi Singh).
While Adarsh from Mar Basil Higher Secondary School, Kothamangalam claimed the 800m (1 minute 59.58 seconds) and 1500m (4:14.14) titles in the senior boys' category his schoolmate Anumol won the 1500m (5:01.48) and 5000m (19:38.24) races in the senior girls section. Thara ruled in the college girls category by cornering glory in the 1500m (5:16.91) and 5000m (18:16.38) races.
Nithya from St Anne's College for Women sped to success in the college girls' 100m and 200m races, an effort that landed her the best athlete award in that category. She clocked 12.15 to win the 100m dash and timed 25.54 seconds to win the 200m race.
Telangana State Sports School's Donthu was equally brilliant winning the junior girls' 1500m in 5 minutes 07.92 seconds and followed it up by claiming the 800m title in 2 minutes 18.66 seconds, the following day.
Sashi Singh led the way for Charuchandra winning the 800m (1 minute 55.69 seconds) and 1500m (4:11.14) races.
Olympian Lalita Babar, who gave away the prizes urged schools and colleges to participate in the RFYS Athletics Championship as she felt it's a fantastic platform for upcoming athletes.
"The conduct and level of competition is very good. The young athletes must use this opportunity (to compete in the RFYS Championship) to raise their stature," said the 2015 Asian Athletics gold medallist in 3000m steeplechase.
The schools and colleges that reigned supreme in each category received prizes worth Rs three lakh while the runners-up were richer by Rs 1 lakh.