India ‘s top javelin thrower Annu Rani smashed her own national record during the qualification round to seal a berth for herself in the finals of the ongoing World Athletics Championships on Monday. In the process, she became the first Indian to reach the finals of the women’s javelin throw in the World Championships. Annu finished third in Group A and qualified for the finals as the fifth-best performer of the qualification round.
The 27-year-old Annu sent the iron spear to a distance of 62.43m in her second-round throw, bettering her earlier national record of 62.34m, which she achieved in March, to book a place for Tuesday’s finals. She opened the first qualification round in Group A with a 57.05m throw. She finished third in her group by throwing 60.50m in the third and final round. Annu finished behind Asian Games champion Liu Shiying (63.48m) of China and Ratej Martina (62.87m) of Slovenia.
Only two javelin throwers, Asian champion Huihui (67.27m) and Christin Hussong (65.29m) of Germany, could cross the automatic qualification mark of 63.50m while another 10, including Annu, made up the 12, who will compete in the finals. Those who touch the automatic qualifying mark of 63.50m or the 12 best performers from Group A and Group B taken together qualify for the final round, which will be held on Tuesday.
The other two Indians who competed on Monday, Archana Susheendran and Anjali Devi, failed to go past the first round in the women’s 200m and 400m, respectively.
The 25-year-old Archana, who got a last-minute invite from the world governing body IAAF to take part in the showpiece, finished last in heat number 2 and 40th overall out of the 43 participants who completed their races, with a time of 23.65 seconds. She has a personal best of 23.18.
Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain, who had won a silver in the 100m dash on Sunday, topped the overall timings chart of 200m first round heats with 22.32 seconds.
The 21-year-old Anjali, meanwhile, finished sixth in heat number 6 and 36th overall out of 46 athletes, with a time of 52.33 seconds. The top three finishers in each of the six heats and the next six fastest qualify for the semifinals. The slowest time that made the cut for the semifinals was 52.23.