A look at the athletics Limca records over the years
The Jaipur Literature Festival had a special event line up last week, as it witnessed the launch of the 26th edition of the Limca Book of Records (LBR) by Coca-Cola India. The festival was the perfect setting for the lanuch too, as this latest edition carries a special section on literature in addition to featuring 19 other chapters. One of the chapters is dedicated to sports, celebrating various achievements by Indians over the years.
This may come as a surprise to many, but the section of the LBR dedicated to athletics in India is rather extensive. And of course, one of the biggest names here is that of Anju Bobby George, who won India’s first gold medal at a World Athletics Finals event when she was upgraded from silver to gold in 2014. Her 6.75m leap in the 2005 meet in Monte Carlo was adjudged to be the best after Tatyana Kotova of Russia was disqualified from the event.
Commonwealth Games glory
India achieved its first clean sweep in a major international athletics meet by bagging the first three positions in women’s discus throw in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Krishna Poonia, Harwant Kaur and Seema Antil won the gold, silver and bronze medals respectively to give all three Indians a place on the podium.
Vikas Gowda won India’s first gold medal in men’s athletics at the Commonwealth Games after a span of 56 years when he won the gold in discus throw in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Gowda’s throw of 63.64m was good enough to claim the top prize. The last man before Gowda to win a gold in athletics was Milkha Singh, when he won the gold in 440 yards at the 1958 Commonwealth Games.
India’s best performance at the Commonwealth Games came in 2010 when the country’s athletes won 12 medals – two gold, three silver and seven bronze. It seems that home turf was a crucial aspect for India delivering such a wonderful performance at an international stage.
Indian won its first two medals at the Commonwealth Games for women when Neelam J Singh won the silver in discus throw (58.49 m) and Anju Bobby George won bronze in long jump (6.49 m) at the 2002 Games. At the 2010 Games in Delhi, Krishna Poonia in discus throw and the 4x400 m team of Manjeet Kaur, Sini Jose, Ashwini C Akkunji and Mandeep Kaur won India’s first gold medals by women in athletics at the Commonwealth Games.
Amazing records at the Asian Games
At the 1954 Manila Asian Games, India women won the first ever gold when the 4x100 m relay team of Christine Brown, Stephie D’Souza, Violet Peters and Mary D’Souza bagged the top spot by clocking 49.5 seconds. Meanwhile, Manjeet Kaur holds the unique achievement of winning gold medals at three consecutive Asian Games. She is the first Indian to do so, having won gold in the women’s 4x400 m relay in the Asian Games in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
The Indian women’s 4x400 m team of Priyanka Pawar, Tintu Luka, Mandeep Kaur and MR Poovamma created an Asian Games record at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon. The team won the gold medal with a record timing of 3:28:68 minutes.
Indians have been quite impressive in athletics, and it’s sad that not many know about this. The LBR can play a huge role in educating the masses about the country’s athletics achievements, in the process inspiring many more upcoming athletes to break records and win medals at the international level.