Manpreet Kaur wins shot put gold; Vikas Gowda loses Asian Athletics crown to Iran’s Ehsan Haddadi

File Photo : Manpreet Kaur
IANS|07-Jul-2017 11:06

07 Jul 2017 09 51 AM
Bhubaneswar, 6th July: There were scenes of joy at the Kalinga Stadium today where India’s Manpreet Kaur secured India’s first gold medal at the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships in the women’s shot put event. Manpreet, who was also celebrating her 27th birthday, was overwhelmed with excitement after the rest of the field had completed its set of six throws, giving her the first place.
The opening day of the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar saw Indians put up a strong show with two golds, one silver and three bronze medals to lead the medals tally, with China just behind on the bronze medal count. India’s second gold in the men’s 5000m through G Lakshmanan meant both athletes secured an automatic qualification for next month’s IAAF World Championships in London.
Manpreet threw a distance of 18.28m in her third effort – her second-best ever – taking the first place early although she had tough competition from China’s GuoTianqian, who took silver with a best of 17.91m. Japan’s Aya Ota claimed the bronze medal with a throw of 15.45m.
Manpreet, who had already qualified for the World Championships, said: "These were challenging conditions because of the high humidity and hence it wasn't easy to get a grip on the ball. Considering that, I'm delighted with my performance. And a gold is a gold, no matter what."
In the men’s discus throw that was being played out on the opposite end of the field, Vikas Gowda surrendered his double Asian Championships crown to long-time nemesis and Olympic silver medalist Ehsan Haddadi of Iran, settling for a bronze medal as India opened its medal account with this result.
Gowda, who had won the last two Asian Athletics Championships titles and two silvers in the preceding editions, came up with his best of 60.81m in his fourth attempt, but eventual silver medalist Muhammad Irfan of Malaysia trumped his effort with his fifth throw of 60.96m. Haddadi, however, bested both of them with his final throw of 64.54m to add to his impressive medals tally.
Gowda, however, wasn’t disappointed with his effort as he has been short of match practice this season. "I had been struggling to find my technique for the last couple of weeks, so in that regard I think I did okay. Because of the short arrival it took me a couple of days to acclimatize, but these things are a part of it."
Haddadi, whose first Asian Championships gold came way back in 2005, won his sixth gold medal at these Championships to go with three Asian Games titles and the bronze medal in the 2011 World Championships.
National champions and local heroes Dutee Chand and Amiya Kumar Mallick also put their best feet forward by advancing into the semi-finals of the 100m sprint event in the evening session on Day 1 of the Championships. Mallick qualified third from Heat 1 of the men’s 100m with a time of 10.48 seconds in the event that saw six heats, which also included Asian record holder in the 100m and 200m Femi SeunOgunode of Qatar, who strolled into the semis with a leisurely 10.29 seconds.
Both the men’s and women’s sprint events were riddled with false starts, but Dutee Chand set the pace in the women’s 100m in Heat 3, qualifying with the fastest time of 11.40 seconds, accelerating and pulling away in the last third of the race against Olga Safronova of Kazakhstan. Her nearest competitor was Kazakhstan’s ViktoriyaZyabkina who finished with 11.50 seconds in Heat 1.
There was more to cheer for India in the evening session with India’s SanjivaniJadhav finishing third in the women’s 5000m final, behind Daria Maslova of Kyrgyzstan and Alia Mohammad of UAE, who won gold and silver respectively. Lakshmanan, however, raised the volume of a spirited crowd with his victorious run in the men’s event with a time of 14:54.48. Yaser Salem of Qatar and Tariq Ahmed of Saudi Arabia finished second and third behind him.
The women’s long jump final saw V Neena take second place behind Vietnam’s Bui Thi Thu by a whisker, as they were tied at the top spot with both getting 6.54m. However, Bui Thi Thu’s second best effort was higher than Neena’s which broke the deadlock and gave the Vietnamese gold, as Neena settled for silver. Nayana James finished third with her effort of 6.42m.
The men’s pole vault fetched China its second gold medal of the evening with Ding Bangchao clearing a height of 5.40m. Thailand’s PatsapongAmsam-Ang got silver with his effort of 5.30m and Saudi Arabia’s Hussain Asim rounded out the medals by taking bronze.
The women’s javelin event saw India clinch a bronze medal with Annu Rani throwing a best of 57.32 in her very first attempt, but China’s Li Lingwei continued her success at Asian Championships by winning her second gold medal with a distance of 63.06m, to add to her first-place finish in Pune in 2013. NadeeshaDilhaniLekamo of Sri Lanka won silver with a throw of 58.11m.
Day 2 of the action at the Asian Athletics Championships will see Olympic hammer throw champion DilshodNazarov of Tajikistan take the field. More Indians will be in with a chance for medals on the second day with Muhammed Anas, Amoj Jacob and Arokia Rajiv qualifying for the final of the men’s 400m, while MR Poovamma, Jisna Mathew and Nirmala Sheoran all qualified for the women’s 400m final.
Asian Athletics Championships

The Asian Athletics Championships (AAC) is Asia’s flagship event organized by the Asian Athletics Association (AAA). The capital of Odisha, Bhubaneswar will host the 22ndedition of AAC from July 5th to July 9th 2017 at Kalinga Stadium. India has hosted the event earlier on two occasions in New Delhi (1989) and Pune (2013). Nearly 1000 athletes from 45 countries will participate across track and field events. The winners of the AAC procure a direct berth in the IAAF World Championships London, 2017.