Heptathletes add to miserable show in athletics (Lead)

August 17th, 2008 - 12:39 am ICT by IANS  

By V. Krishnaswamy
Beijing, Aug 16 (IANS) The heptathlon trio, as well as discus thrower Vikas Gowda and quarter miler Mandeep Kaur made it another miserable day for India at the athletics track. One of the very few countries to enter three heptathletes, the Indians finished way down in the field, with G. G. Pramila taking the 28th slot with 5771, more than 400 points below her best while J. J. Shobha, 11th at Athens, was 30th with a total of 5749 and Susmita Singha Roy finished 33rd with 5705 points.

Earlier in the morning, discus thrower Vikas Gowda and quarter-miler Mandeep Kaur, too, were unable to produce what they had achieved to earn the Olympic berth in the first place. As a result they were both eliminated in the qualification rounds itself in the Beijing Games Saturday.

Gowda, 2005 Asian Championship silver medallist, came in with a personal best of 64.96 metres, but managed only 60.69m and finished 11th in the Group B and 22nd overall to finish his Olympic campaign.

Gowda, who has been training in the United States, where he is studying in the University of North Carolina, was 17th out of 29 athletes at Athens Olympics four years ago. For the record, the top discus qualifier was Piotr Malachowski of Poland with a best of 65.94m and the last qualifier was Finland’s Frantz Kruger, who threw the disc to 62.48m.

Mandeep Kaur, who has been credited with 51.74s at the Madurai Nationals, was more than a second slower in 52.88s and finished sixth in the seven-runner heat. The heat was won by Italian Libania Grenot Martinez, who clocked 50.87s, the fourth best time of the morning round. Mandeep was 33rd overall in the field of 50 runners.

Sanya Richards of the US had the best time in the first round at 50.54s with Jamaican Shericka Williams second best at 50.57s. India’s women discus throwers have already been eliminated, while Preeja Sreedharan was 25th (32:34.64s) among the 29 runners who completed in the 10,000m.

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