Uttar Pradesh’s Abhishek Pal and Parul Chaudhary completed a unique double at the National Games here on Saturday, winning the Men’s and Women’s 5,000m gold for their state.
Parul Chaudhary was delighted with her performance but Abhishek Pal was a slightly disappointed man even though he beat the stiff challenge of Services’ Karit Kumar and Sawan Barwal, as well as that of defending champion G Lakshmanan, for the title.
“I am happy to win here but am still disappointed,” he said after his win, revealing that he was eying the Games record as well”
Abhishek Pal recorded a timing of 14:07.25s, falling short of the Games record of 13:50.05.
“Yes, I was eyeing the record. But I want to do my best in events like the Asian Championships and the Asian Games,” he said, outlining his future plans. “I also want to secure a place in the NCOE before the resumption of the National Camp,” the 25-year-old said.
“After I joined the Sports Authority of India National Centre of Excellence (NCOE) in Bhopal, in 2015, my career took an upward curve,” he pointed out, revealing his reasons.
Hailing from a family of runners, Abhishek Pal has come a long way since he finished fifth in the 5,000m race in the National Games in Thiruvananthapuram seven years ago.
He was fifth in the 5,000m and seventh in the 10,000m in the Asian Championships in April 2019. And now, with more experience under his belt, he is confident he can be on the podium at the next continental meet.
Abhishek Pal’s distance-running statemate Parul Chaudhary was, however, pleased with her first National Games gold, winning the title with a timing of 16:34.68.
“Though I have not done much speed work, I was confident I would be able to sprint to the finish if I stayed close to the leaders, no matter who did the front-running,” she said.
After the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in July last, the 27-year-old from Meerut has been in off-season. Though Uttarakhand’s Ankita Dhyani, Maharashtra’s Komal Jagdale, Haryana’s Bharti and Himachal Pradesh’s Seema took turns at holding the lead, Parul Chaudhary produced a kick over the last 200m that left the challengers well behind.
Abhishek Pal will get another chance to break the Games’ record when he takes part in the 10,000m on Monday. Parul Chaudhary will also chase a second gold in the 3,000m Steeplechase.