The 58th National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships 2018 has kickstarted in Guwahati on June 26. Five athletes, including Dutee Chand of Odisha, cleared the qualification marks in their respective events. India’s top athletes will chase qualifying standards for the Jakarta Asian Games, starting on August 18 through the Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships.

Chand clocked 23:46 seconds to qualify for the final round of the women’s 200m race. This is a chance for her to be placed in contention for an Asian Games berth. The Athletics Federation of India has set a qualifying standard of 23:50 seconds for this event.

Dutee was recently fighting her own battle, winning a ‘gender’ case against the international federation at the Court of Arbitration for Sport

“My main event is 100m but I am happy to have done well in 200m also. I hope to win 200m final also,” Dutee said after the race, TOI reported.

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“It would have been ideal had the 100m event was held before the 200m as is the norm in international events but I cannot do much. My job is to run races,” she added.

It would be harder for Dutee in the final round tomorrow as local favourite Hima Das also qualified along with another Odisha athlete Srabani Nanda

Being the brand ambassador of this meet, Hima clocked 23.22 in Poland during a training trip earlier this month. She finished second in her heat, behind Reena George of Karnataka (24.00).

Another stellar Odisha athlete, Jauna Murmu, who was banned for two years for the 2011 doping scandal, won the women’s 400m in 57.02 seconds. The AFI qualifying time was 57.52.

Anu Raghavan of Kerala took the silver in 57.68 while Gujarat’s Saritaben Gayakwad bagged the bronze in 58.01.

“I could have run better but for the heaviness of the track due to this slight rain. I had thought of running below 56. Overall, it is a good race. I will try to run below 56 in the Asian Games and hopefully win a medal for the country,” said the 27-year-old Murmu, who took part in the 2010 Asian Games also.

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