Dutee, Hima and Anas ensure silver show on track

Muhammed Anas dedicates his medal to the Kerala flood victims, says it is for his family back home.

Dutee Chand on the podium after clinching silver medal in women's 100m final.   -  AP

She had been through hell. Four years ago, the hyperandrogenism issue forced her out of the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. But now, with the rules allowing her to run, Dutee Chand is back with a vengeance.

Nobody gave her much of a chance in the women’s 100m but the Odisha sprinter believed in herself. The field was strong and included China’s defending champion Wei Yongli but the 22-year-old ran at such a scorching pace that, for a few moments, she appeared to be even in contention for a gold at the Asian Games athletics here on Sunday night.

Dutee finished with a silver in 11.32s, finishing behind Bahrain’s Odiong Edidiong (11.30s), but the medal had the sparkle of gold. For it ended a 20-year-wait for the country, with P.T. Usha’s 1986 silver in Seoul being India’s previous best at the Asiad.

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However, there were no surprises in the men’s 100m as China’s Su Bingtian emerged as the fastest man in a Games record (9.92s).

 

India had three silvers on Sunday, with the men’s and women’s 400m runners Muhammed Anas and Hima Das finishing second and the latter becoming the first Indian woman to break the 51-second barrier. There could have been a bronze too but Tamil Nadu’s Asian champion Govindan Lakshmanan, who finished third in the men’s 10,000m, was disqualified for stepping outside the track. India had filed a protest but it was thrown out.

With Asian record holder Salwa Eid Naser in the fray, Hima was never in contention for gold but she grabbed the golden opportunity that came with running against the Bahraini, one of the world’s best quartermilers. And she did not disappoint, for her time, 50.79s, broke the national record she had set on Saturday (51s) and was also better than Salwa’s Asian Games record of 50.86 that came in Incheon four years ago.

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“I learned a lot running with her (Salwa), both in the semifinal and the final. She's a perfect athlete,” said Hima. “But in the final, I was only thinking about giving my best time. I did not think of any other thing.”

The Nigeria-born Salwa, who has a personal best of 49.08s, won the gold comfortably in 50.09s while Kazakhstan’s Elina Mikhina took the bronze in 52.63.

'Anas fights hard'

For Muhammed Anas, it was a big struggle. Qatar’s Hassan Abdadelah was a cut above the rest and the fast-tiring Indian record-holder had to fight hard with the other Bahraini, Khamis Ali, before taking the silver in 45.69s which was slower than his personal best of 45.24s that came last month in a Czech meet.

“After about 250m, my muscles started tightening up. Perhaps, it was because of yesterday’s two hard races but I’m happy I managed to hang on for the silver,” said Anas.

Hassan took the gold in 44.89s.

“This gold is for my family back home and for the Kerala people who had suffered owing to the recent floods,” said Anas.

Meanwhile, Kerala’s junior long jumper M. Sreeshankar was close to his personal best but his 7.95m was only good enough to get him the sixth place in the men’s final. China’s Wang Jianan (8.24m) took the gold.