PATIALA – 18 March 2021:
Southern states of India are the stables for jumpers and sprinters. Tamil Nadu’s Gracena Glistus Merly “lived-up” this statement by sailing over 1.84m to win the women’s high jump at the penultimate day of Federation Cup senior athletics meet here today.
It is a huge personal best for the athlete from the ‘down south’ that placed her fourth in the Indian all-time top lists. Yesteryear jumpers Sahana Kumari (1.92) and Bobby Aloysius (1.91) besides heptathlete Swapna Barman (1.87) are the only athletes who ‘cleared’ better heights than Gracena to date. But it will not take longer for the 20-year-old TN jumper to catch up with them.
Loretta Gomez opened Tamil Nadu’s dominance in national high jumping arena in 1960s. Sheba Newman ruled from 1970s till mid-1980s. The baton then passed on to indomitable Angela Lincy, S. Jayanthi and Sangeetha Mohan in the subsequent years.
High jumpers from the states of Kerala and Karnataka also delivered consistent performances and victories, from which P.S. Bindu is an important name to remember besides Bobby and Sahana mentioned above.
Now it is the turn of Gracena to maintain the tradition. The TN athlete became the South Asian junior champion three years ago while missing the podium in the continental Asian juniors in 2018.
Hope the Indian varsities champion will get back to the winning ways hereafter.
Courtesy : Ram. Murali Krishnan
Photo courtesy: ARN Sports