National Junior Athletics: Unnathi Aiyappa topples P.T. Usha's record in 80m hurdles

The athlete also made a new national record in the 300m hurdles

By Samrat Chakraborty ·

Unnathi Aiyappa created two national records in the U16 girl's category at the 36th National Junior Athletics Championships in Guwahati.

Representing Karnataka in the nationals, she clocked 11.50s in the 80m hurdle to break the national record of 12.2s set by legendary sprinter P.T. Usha in 1979. In 1985, A.N. Rekha matched Usha's record but it was Aiyappa who etched her name in the history books with a sub-12s mark.

In 300m hurdles, she clocked 40.11s, which is also a national record. West Bengal's Soumita Paul (40.15s) and Uttar Pradesh's Roshani Yadav (40.94s) came second and third respectively.

She is the daughter of Pramilla Aiyappa and B.P. Aiyappa. While her mother was a former heptathlete her father was a 400m sprinter. Pramilla even won bronze at the Asian Games at Guanzhou in 2010.

From a very young age, she used to accompany her mother at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, which is her current stomping ground. She has been training under her father who is now a national athletic coach.

She even won a gold medal in long-jump in the U-14 category in the Junior National Championships in 2018.

On the other hand, Pavana Nagraj and Yashwant Kumar also grabbed attention with their respective performances in the U16 high jump and U20 110m hurdles. They were both awarded the gong of the best athletes in their respective age groups.

In U20 long jump Jeswin Aldrin bagged gold, while Praveen Chithravel and Rohit Yadav stood first in U20 triple jump and U20 javelin throw respectively.

The Inspire Institute of Sport's (IIS) 10-member team performed brilliantly and bagged nine medals (7 golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze) in the tournament.

"This was a very important meet for the group since this was the first time in over a year that they could compete against the best in India," Yaich said in an official statement.

"I'm happy because it was a good opening for our athletes and some of the performances were really top level. As they compete more, I'm expecting them all to do better in subsequent meets and improve on their current bests," he added.