Kerala quartermiler Muhammed Anas smashed the national record in men's 400m race en route to winning a gold medal at the third leg of the Indian Grand Prix Athletics Meet here today. The 22-year-old Anas clocked 45.32 sec under hot and humid conditions at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. He also qualified for the World Championships to be held in London in August. The entry standard for the World Championships stands at 45.50secs. Rajiv Arokia and Sachin Baby were second and third in 46.32 secs and 47.18 secs respectively. Before today, Anas has run two national record timings of 45.44secs and 45.40secs (both of last year) but these are yet to be ratified by the Athletics Federation of India. His timing today was better than these two. "It was hot and humid but every time I run I want to better my personal best and so it's a be national record today," Anas, a Rio Olympian, said after the race. "Now, my focus will be to win a medal in the Asian Championships in July (in Bhubaneswar) and do my best in the World Championships," said the Indian Navy sailor. The other highlight of the day was the showdown between the seasoned M R Poovamma of Karnataka and the up and coming youngster Jisna Mathew of Kerala in the women's 400m race. The 18-year-old Jisna, a protege of legendary P T Usha, had finished second to Poovamma in the second leg on May 11 here by a hundreth of a second.
But today, Jisna upstaged her more fancied rival. Jisna clocked 52.65 secs while Poovamma's timing was 52.73 secs. Debashree Mazumdar of Bengal was third in 53.69 secs. The World Championships entry standard in this event is 52.10 secs. In women's 100m dash, Dutee Chand of Odisha clinched the gold but missed the World Championships qualification mark by a whisker. She clocked 11.30 secs while the World Championship entry standard in this event stands at 11.26 secs. Merlin Joseph of Kerala was second in 11.72 secs while Himanshree Roy of Bengal was third in 11.95 secs. In men's javelin throw, Davinder Singh Kang of Punjab, who has already qualified for the World Championships while winning gold in the first leg in Patiala on May 7, bagged the gold as he cleared a distance of 81.53m. Junior world record holder Neeraj Chopra, who has also qualified for the World Championships, skipped the third leg today after winning the gold in the first leg here on May 11. Davinder had sent the spear to a distance of 84.57m in the first leg in Patiala. The World Championships entry standard in this event stands at 83m.