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College girl sets national record in walk race

Patiala: College girl Khushbir Kaur set a new national record in women`s 20km walk race en route to winning gold on the third and penultimate day of the 16th Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships here today. Kaur`s 1:37:28 effort betters L Deepmala Devi`s old national record of 1:37:44 set during the Asian Race Walking Championships at Nomi City, Japan, two years ago.

The 18-year-old Kaur`s time also bettered London Olympics `B` qualification standard of 1:38:00. However, the effort by the ONGC walker and a student of Khalsa College for Women in Amritsar could not be counted for London Games as the Fed Cup is not one of the pre-designated meets to attain the qualifying grade for Olympics in race walking.

The winner of the corresponding event for men, started 30 minutes later, also met with the same fate. Kerala walker K T Irfan surprised the field when he completed the 20-lapper in an outstanding 1:22:14 which eclipsed his state-mate P S Jalan`s seven-year-old meet record of 1:30:17.3 and also came within `A` qualifying standard for the Olympic Games which stood at 1:22:30.

His effort will not also be counted for London Olympics for the same reason as in case of Kaur. Punjab`s Surinder Singh and Maniram Patel of Madhya Pradesh came second and third in men`s 20km walk clocking 1:22:37 and 1:22:40 respectively. Walkers Gurmeet Singh and Baljinder Singh have already attained the Olympics `A` qualifying grade.

After a disappointing defeat last week during the second leg of Indian Grand Prix here on the same tracks, reigning Asian Games champion Joseph Abraham dipped under 50 secs for the first time in two years as he clocked 49.98s to win the men`s 400m hurdles race.

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