Asian Athletic Championships: India bag Numero Uno position with dozen gold medals

Rufina Vignone
Luglio 11, 2017

Bhubaneswar: Kalinga Stadium had an electrifying atmosphere when Odia sprinter Dutee Chand hit the tracks in 100 metres race for woman and qualified for the semi-finals after putting up a splendid performance. "The championship has changed the mindset of people towards athletic sports", said Naba Kishore Mohapatra, a sports teacher at DAV Public School, Chandrasekharpur.Mohapatra's sentiments were echoed by the R Vineel Krishna, director of sports and youth affair.

China ended at the second position with 8 gold, 7 silver, 5 bronze. India's best haul of 22 medal was achieved twice, the last being in 1989 when India hosted the Asian meet in Delhi. "I raced here to win medals but in London I will race to improve my time", he said. Bahrain, in fact, quietly pulled out of the event.

His participation was initially in doubt before he was clear at the eleventh hour to take part in the championship.

Cray's golden effort, coupled with the earlier silver won by Harry Diones in triple jump and the bronze captured by EJ Obiena in pole vault, catapulted Phl to seventh overall in the medal standings after Day Three.

The African imports from Baharain would have been hard to beat in middle and long distance races.

Around 800 athletes from 45 countries attended the Asian Championships event. Compatriot Gopi Thonakal made it one-two for India by winning silver with a time of 29:58.89s. He had won gold in the men's 5,000m gold as well. This meet surpassed all that with India garnering 29 medals, including 12 gold.

In men's javelin, world junior record holder Neeraj will be a strong contender for the gold but he will face tough competition from defending champion Huang Shih-Feng and Chao- Tsun Cheng of Chinese Taipei.

Purnima Hembram was going great guns at the heptathlon by scoring 3432 points and placed second at end of four out of seven events.

India along these lines lost a yellow metal in emotional conditions. Ajay Kumar Saroj, victor of the men's 1500m, is 20 years old.

A dope flunk by decathlete Jagtar Singh, who was pulled out of the team in advance and did not come to Bhubaneswar, threatened to hog the limelight briefly but the host country's fine show did not let it happen.

Heptathlete Swapna Barman was the first Indian who gave India the first gold of the day. Konda was then awarded the gold.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik felicitated all the Indian athletes who won medals at the recently-concluded Asian Athletics Championships. The event was top class in terms of organisation and crowd attendance.

Manpreet, who turned 27 on Thursday, upstaged defending champion Chinese Guo Tianqian to give herself a flawless birthday gift at the packed Kalinga Stadium.

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