High jumper Pavana Nagaraj left a mark on the opening day of the 36th National Junior Athletics Championships as she set the U-16 national record to claim the gold medal.
Nagaraj is the daughter of of current high jump national record holder Sahana Kumari and Indian athlete BG Nagaraj. Sahana holds the current national record of 1.92 m and her daughter seems to be carrying on the family legacy.
The Karnataka-based athlete recorded a jump of 1.73m to beat West Bengal's Mohur Mukherjee for the top podium finish in the high jump event on Saturday.
Nagaraj claimed the record in her third and final attempt to edge past Mukherjee, who recorded a clearance of 1.69m and 1.71m, in the her first-two attempts. The previous U-16 national record was set at 1.69m by Kavya Muthanna from Karnataka in 2003.
The 36th National Junior Athletics Championships has seen 1637 boys and girls taking part in four age groups across 145 events in the five-day championships. It is thus the largest domestic event held in the country since the Covid-19 outbreak.
However, Nagaraj was not the only athlete to break a national record on Saturday.
Uttarakhand’s Ankita Dhyani bettered the national U-20 mark in the women’s 5000m race. The 18-year-old Dhyani clocked 16:21.19 to finish on the top of the podium. She broke Sunita Rani's national record of 16:21.59 set in the Summer Universiade at the Stadio Cibali in Catania, Italy on August 26, 1997.
Dhyani's effort was also an improvement on the 16:37.90 she had recorded to win the 5000m Federation Cup Junior U20 Athletics Championships in Bhopal on January 26.