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Shakti Singh betters Asian shot put record

By a correspondent in New Delhi

7 July 2000 - India’s Shakti Singh has bettered the Asian record in shot put. At the National Circuit meet in the southern city of Bangalore on Wednesday, July 5, Shakti reached 20.60 metres to better the 1996 mark set by Kazakhstan’s Sergey Rubatsov at Almaty.

This is the third time Shakti Singh, a 39-year-old Indian Railway employee, has crossed the 20-metre mark. Earlier this season, he had recorded two throws of 20.09, at Patiala and in New Delhi. He had a 19.98 and a 19.90 as well in Wednesday’s series.

Silver medallist at the 1998 Asian Games, Shakti said that his aim was to cross the 21-metre barrier next, perhaps well before the Asian championships in Jakarta in late August.

The Bangalore meet also saw the eclipse of two National records of the celebrated P. T. Usha, the lone Indian woman to have entered an Olympic final. Rachita Mistry ran a 11.26s to better Usha’s 1985 National mark of 11.39s in the 100 metres while Vinita Tripathi clocked 23.04s for the 200m to smash Usha’s record of 23.25s. Within the space of 17 days, Usha has lost three of her National records. K. M. Beenamol had bettered her 400m record in a meeting in Kiev on June 18, clocking 51.21s. Usha now holds the 400m hurdles record at 55.42s.