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Jyothi Yarraji runs under 13 seconds in hurdles – first Indian to do so


India’s ace hurdler is galloping past hurdles at a fast clip, and on Monday, she dipped under the crucial 13-second mark in her 110m hurdles at the 61st National Open Athletics Championshipsin Bengaluru. With her timing of 12.82 seconds in the last race of her season, Jyothi rewrote her own national record. Her English coach James Hillier, said she had the ability to run ‘scarily fast’, given the trajectory of her improvement.

Jyothi was running 13.03 at the Inter University in 2020, and had steadily improved. However, a wind assisted 12.79 at the National Games, meant the record couldn’t be formally registered. Despite a pre-competition downpour wetting the track, Jyothi would end her season on a high. Jyothi later said, “I’m happy about my consistent performance… before also, it was not about a record or beating someone. I wanted to improve myself, apply good work here and today I did it. I want to continue races like this. This is also fine, my back to back sprint drills worked…so I’m happy season ended well.”

Her coach James Hillier was glad that the 13 second mark was overcome. “This was her last race of the season, so I wanted her to finish on a high. This 13 second thing, getting under it, can become a monkey on the back if it’s not happened. I knew she’s in shape to do it, just the case of doing it, getting the time. She got rest after two weeks. I know she’s in shape to do it, but you can’t assume or expect anything in athletics. I’ve seen too much go wrong,” he said.

Commenting on the conditions, Hillier noted: “These were not the best conditions, not the warmest. obviously a downpour just before the competition. which makes the performance even better. She’s actually done better than in National Games where conditions were amazing. So she’s definitely come on even stronger than National Games.”

The coach was happy with his ward’s progression and reckons she can go faster post this breakthrough season. “It’s been a coming of age season. From the first time I saw her I knew she had amazing ability. one of best athletes, if not the best I’ve seen. I knew she had amazing quality. . I didnt know exactly what she’s gonna do, but she’s just grown as a person, grown as an athlete, matured into things, handling it well, so it’s been real coming of age for her. It’s been an amazing season. Time for holiday now!” he chuckled.

Hillier contended she could drop so far as 12.3s. “Based on her 100m time, she can go 12.6 at the moment. There’s still 2/10ths. I think she can run scarily quick – 12.3, 12.4! I don’t like to put a number on it. But she’s certainly good enough. And she’s gotta start believing she can do those times. Open her mind. Expand her mind to times she didn’t even dream was possible. Now it’s possible. It’s hard work. But certainly there’s a lot more to come,” he ended.





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