Amoj Jacob smashes decade-old record at Junior Athletics Nationals, or does he?
A look at his previous timings from 2017 paints a confusing picture.
The National Junior Athletics Championships are underway in Vijayawada at the Acharya Nagarjuna University ground and on the third day on Saturday, runner Amoj Jacob hit the headlines as he broke a decade-old record by clocking a timing of 46.59 seconds on his way to the gold medal in the 400m final.
He broke the national U20 record that was previously created by Virender Pank in 2006 and stood at 46.99 seconds. The Athletics Federation of India also sent a tweet signalling the achievement. However, a look at his previous timings from earlier events in 2017 paints a strange picture.
19-year-old Jacob, who hails from Kerala, was part of the 4x400m relay team that won gold at the Asian Athletics Championships in July earlier this year. Surprisingly, he has clocked a better timing than 46.59 seconds four times in 2017 but due to delay in their ratification, they are still left unrecognized and are pending as a result.
At the 21st Federation Cup National Senior Athletics Championships in June this year, Amoj won the gold medal in the 400m final with a timing of 46.26 seconds, which stands as his personal best and is significantly lesser than the 46.59-second mark that is hailed as the national junior record.
Next month, he built on his Fed Cup gold at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubhaneshwar. Having comfortably cleared the heats, he produced a timing of 46.40 seconds in the semifinals to qualify ahead of eventual silver medalist Arokia Rajiv. In the final though, he was a tad slower, recording a 46.49-second finish and finishing in fourth place, one-tenth of a second behind the bronze medalist.
Later that month, he recorded a timing of 46.50 seconds at the 57th National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships in Guntur, which is again better than the recently created 'National Junior Record'.
Thus, it is certainly surprising to see Jacob's latest performance being touted as the breaking of a ten-year record and the creation of a new junior-level one. He has recorded much better timings earlier and while they are yet to be ratified, a mere mention about them by the AFI would present a clearer picture of the whole scenario.