It took just one jump for M. Sreeshankar to enter the men’s long jump final. A little later, junior world champion quartermiler Hima Das reduced the national record to dust. And then came the icing with Tajinder Pal Singh Toor winning the men’s shot put gold with an Asian Games record.
India was off to a flying start in the Asiad’s athletics competition which began at the GBK Main Stadium here on Saturday.
And happily, everything appeared to be falling into place for India. Tajinder began as the favourite and his opening effort of 19.96m was enough to give him the gold. But he did better with his fifth throw of 20.75m breaking the Games record of Saudi Arabia’s Sultan Abdulmajeed (20.57m) set in 2010. That also saw him break Om Prakash Singh’s national mark (20.69m) set in 2012.
Strangely, Iranian Shahin Mehrdelan, who was expected to challenge Tajinder, could not register a single legal throw and ended with a ‘no mark’ against his name.
“My aim was to cross 21m, the gold was never in doubt,” said the 23-year-old Tajinder, the son of a Punjab farmer.
Meanwhile, Hima Das, running with Bahrain’s Asian record holder Salwa Eid Naser in the 400m heats, broke Manjit Kaur’s 14-year-old national record (51.05s) clocking 51s and made it to the final after finishing second to Naser (50.86). Her team-mate Nirmala Sheoran (54.09s) also made it to the final.
UP’s Sarita Singh was fifth in the women’s hammer throw (62.03m), an event won by China’s Luo Na with 71.42m while Tamil Nadu’s L. Suriya was sixth in the women’s 10,00m clocking 32:42.08s. Kyrgystan’s Daria Maslova won the gold.
In the women’s 10,000m final, Sanjivani Jadhav finished ninth with a time of 33:13.06s.
DUTEE, SREESHANKAR SHINE
Junior long jumper Sreeshankar’s opening effort of 7.83m was enough to carry him to the final (7.80m qualifying mark) and that should see him fresh in the main rounds. The men’s quartermilers Muhammed Anas (45.30s) and Arokia Rajiv (46.08) also looked good as they made the final. Anas topped his semifinal while Arokia was second in his bunch.
National record-holder Dutee Chand progressed to the women’s 100m semifinal with 11.3s, topping her heat and finishing as the third fastest among the qualifiers.
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