India living a dream at the Asians

It certainly looked like a dream as India won gold after gold, four in all in one happy hour under a steady drizzle at the Kalinga Stadium here.

He was not sure when an Indian last won the men’s 400m gold at the Asian Athletics Championships. All that the Kerala quarter-miler Muhammed Anas knew was that it felt like a dream after winning the title here on Friday night.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

He was not sure when an Indian last won the men’s 400m gold at the Asian Athletics Championships. All that the Kerala quarter-miler Muhammed Anas knew was that it felt like a dream after winning the title here on Friday night.

It certainly looked like a dream as India won gold after gold, four in all in one happy hour under a steady drizzle at the Kalinga Stadium here. Women’s quartermiler Nirmala Sheoran and both the men’s and women’s 1500m runners, Ajay Kumar Saroj and P.U. Chitra, were the others to run to golds.

There was a huge jolt for Qatar’s Femi Ogunode, the defending champion and continental record holder, as Iran’s Hassan Taftian slipped past him in a photo finish for the 100m gold while local star Dutee Chand took a bronze in the women’s section.  

Indian men’s 4x100m relay team disqualified

Sheoran’s yellow, in the 400m, was expected. The Asian leader this season, she was never under threat and all the action happened behind her.

In the end, the young Jisna Mathew fought hard and pipped M.R. Poovamma, the last Asians silver winner, to clinch the bronze, her first at the senior continental meet. Vietnam’s Quach Thi appeared to be a bit of a spoilsport as she took the silver.

Anas, who was forced to run the semifinal a second time this morning after protests from a few runners that they were confused with another clap when the gun went off last evening, felt a bit tight but still held off a strong challenge from Tamil Nadu’s Arokia Rajiv. Rajiv, the Asian Games bronze medallist, was overjoyed with the silver.

“This certainly looks like a dream, never did I expect a gold here,” said national record holder Anas, the current Asian leader.

“I felt a bit tight after the morning’s run but since I’ve already qualified for the Worlds, I did not bother about the clock. I’m sure the timings will not be good.”

The biggest surprise came from P.U. Chitra, whose name did not even figure in the Indian team list released to the media initially.

“Yes, this is a big, big surprise… and suddenly, I’m going to the Worlds,” said the Kerala girl after winning the metric mile.

A few minutes later Ajay Kumar Saroj battled hard with Qatar’s Jamal Hairane on the home stretch and grabbed the men’s 1500m title. Meanwhile Tajinderpal Singh Toor, who led the Asian charts this season, won the men’s shot put silver.

With six golds already in the bag after just two days, this could turn out to be India’s best-ever Asians and it now looks like the host could probably finish with 15 golds in the four-day event.

However, there was some disappointment too with Amiya Mallick, the country’s fastest man, being disqualified for a false start in the semifinal earlier. The men’s 4x100m relay team was also pushed out in the morning after a zone violation in the heats.

The results:

Men: 100m: 1. Hassan Taftian (Irn) 10.25s, 2. Femi Ogunode (Qat) 10.26, 3. Yang Chun-Han (Tpe) 10.31 (Amit Kumar Mallick, DQ, semis). 400m: 1. Muhammed Anas (Ind) 45.77s, 2. Arokia Rajiv (Ind) 46.14, 3. Ahmed Mubarak (Oma) 46.39, 4. Amoj Jacob (Ind) 46.49.

1500m: 1. Ajay Kumar Saroj (Ind) 3:45.85s, 2. Jamal Hairane (Qat) 3:46.90, 3. Moslem Naidoost (Irn) 3:48.53, 5. Siddhanta Adhikari (Ind) 3:50.64.

Triple jump: 1. Zhu Yaming (Chi) 16.82m, 2. Mark Harry Diones (Phi) 16.45, 3. Xu Xiaolong (Chn) 16.45, 7. U. Karthik (Ind) 15.93.

Shot put: 1. Ali Samari (Irn) 19.80m, 2. Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Ind) 19.77, 3. Ivan Ivanov (Kaz) 19.41, 4. Omprakash Singh Karhana (Ind) 18.70, 8. Jasdeep Singh Dhillon (Ind) 18.07.

Decathlon: 1. Suttisak Singkon (Tha) 7732 pts, 2. Kazuya Kawasaki (Jpn) 7584, 3. Guo Qi (Chn) 7495, 5. Abhishek Shetty (Ind) 6976.

Women: 100m: 1. Viktoriya Zyabkina (Kaz) 11.39s, 2. Olga Safronova (Kaz) 11.45, 3. Dutee Chand (Ind) 11.52.

400m: 1. Nirmala Sheoran (Ind) 52.01s, 2. Quach Thi (Vie) 52.78, 3. Jisna Mathew (Ind) 53.32, 4. M.R. Poovamma (Ind) 53.36.

1500m: 1. P. U. Chitra (Ind) 4:17.92s, 2. Geng Min (Chn) 4:19.15, 3. Ayako Jinnouchi (Jpn) 4:19.90, 10. Monika Choudhary (Ind) 4:30.77.

High jump: 1. Nadiya Dusanova (Uzb) 1.84s, 2. Yeung Man Wai (HK) 1.80, Wang Xueyi (Chn) 1.80 & Liu Jingyi (Chn – three girls finish second), 6. Sahana Kumari (Ind) 1.75.

Hammer throw: 1. Luo Na (Chn) 69.92m, 2. Liu Tingting (Chn) 69.45, 3. Hitomi Katsuyama (Jpn) 60.22, 5. Gunjan Singh (Ind) 59.19, 6. Sarita R. Singh (Ind) 58.71.