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Unnathi Aiyappa wins 200m gold medal, qualifies for World Junior Championship

Competing with local favourite Srabani Nanda, the 18-year old Karnataka athlete came first to qualify for the 2024 World Athletics U-20 Championship.

Screenshot 2024 05 15 084158BHUBANESWAR: Young sensation Unnathi Aiyappa, in her first senior competition, bagged the gold medal in the 200m race, clocking 23.85s in the 27th National Federation Senior Athletics Competition 2024 at Kalinga Stadium here on Monday.

Competing with local favourite Srabani Nanda, the 18-year old Karnataka athlete came first to qualify for the 2024 World Athletics U-20 Championship. Meanwhile, Srabani clinched the silver medal with a timing of 23.89s and Devyani of Gujarat received the bronze medal with 24.14s.

Earlier, Unnathi won a bronze in the 100m hurdles at the Asian U20 Championships in Dubai. She clocked 13.66s (qualification mark 14.20s) and got the ticket for Lima, Peru, to participate in the World Athletics U-20 Championship from August 27-31. She is the daughter of former Indian heptathlete Pramila Aiyappa and quartermiler BP Aiyappa. Pramilla won bronze at the Asian Games at Guangzhou in 2010.

Unnathi entered the track here on Monday evening with an aim to clock below 24.35s, the Junior Worlds qualifying mark at the finals. “I kept my acceleration till the finishing point and was happy with the timing. Being a junior this is my first senior event where I won a gold medal in the 200m race and qualified for the 2024 World Athletics U-20 Championship to be held at Lima, Peru,” said Unnathi.

In Peru, she will participate in 100m hurdles and 200m race. Talking about her preparation and how she will deal with two different events, Unnathi said, “I trained under my father BP Aiyappa, as a coach he knows my strengths and weaknesses better than me. My favourite event is the 200m race and I am also good at hurdles. My mother Pramila, a Sydney and Beijing Olympian, is a better athlete than me. My dream is to win Olympic medals for my country.”

Srabani, meanwhile, recalled meeting Unnathi for the first time. “In the 2009 national camp, I saw Unnathi in Bengaluru. She was only three years old. Today, I am very happy and I congratulate her for her stupendous performance. As a junior, Unnathi has a bright future,” she said.

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