Sumita Rani continued her uncontested dominance in the athletics' 100m women's hurdles event for more than a decade now as the country's top hurdler won yet another gold in the second day of the 41st edition of the National Athletics Championship at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Saturday.
The 26-year old athlete informed that it was her 18th gold medal in national and summer athletics events since winning her first title in 2003. The only years she didn't win gold was in 2009, 2015 (injury) and 2016 (didn't participate).
Sumita's best timing is 13.99s which she recorded in the South Asian Games in Dhaka. Her best timing in domestic events is 13.80s (hand-timing) and she clocked 15.10s in the last summer athletics in the same event. "We can do a lot better than that timing if we are given modern training facilities. In the last SA Games, gold was won in 13.99s. I'm confident of recording better timing if I get better facilities."
She added, "The Bangladesh Jail team do not have their own field. We used to train at BKSP but couldn't practise there recently due to renovation work. I trained at a lane in Kashipur and sometimes came to the BNS. But it is really difficult to travel all the way from Gazipur's Konabari to come here for practice."
Meanwhile, only seven athletes enrolled their names for the women's 100m hurdles event, which is considered technically tougher among the other athletics events. There was no heat due to lack of participants, which paved the way for the final to take place yesterday morning, earlier than the pre-schedule fixtures.
Sumita, who works and plays for Bangladesh Jail, won the race comfortably, crossing the finishing line in 15s without facing any challenge from the other participants. Mukta Khatun of Bangladesh Army bagged silver, clocking 15.40s while Smrity Khatun won bronze with 16.60s timing.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Sajib Hossain of Bangladesh Navy retained his authority in the men's high-jump event as he jumped two metres to win his 19th gold yesterday, after his senior career began in 2007. His teammate Mahfuzur Rahman jumped the same height but Sajib's performance was more accurate as he finished at the top.
Sajib, whose career best 2.11m came in 2010, won silver behind Mahfuzur in the last edition. Sajib claimed gold in the SA Games after jumping 2.17m and said he has the ability to improve his game by 17 centimetres if given modern training facilities. He also added that his target is to reach the 2.20m mark.