Sudha brightens the day with gold, Anu proves a point with silver

Sudha, the Asian leader this season, and true to her billing, she confidently led the six-woman pack with her steady running and broke away to a 60m lead after the fifth lap to race to a comfortable victory.

The months after the last year’s Rio Olympics were very disappointing ones for Sudha Singh. The 3,000m steeple chaser, a former national record holder, was down with swine flu soon after Rio which virtually sapped her of all energy.   -  PTI

The months after the last year’s Rio Olympics were very disappointing ones for Sudha Singh. The 3,000m steeple chaser, a former national record holder, was down with swine flu soon after Rio which virtually sapped her of all energy.

The UP athlete resumed training only in January this year and on Saturday evening won her maiden steeple chase gold at the Asian Athletics Championships at the Kalinga Stadium here. The 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games gold medallist had been an eternal bridesmaid in these championships in the past, with silvers in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

Sudha, the Asian leader this season, and true to her billing, she confidently led the six-woman pack with her steady running and broke away to a 60m lead after the fifth lap to race to a comfortable victory.

“My time (9:59.47s) was very slow but there was nobody to push me,” said the 31-year-old whose personal best, 9:26.55s, which came in the Diamond League in Shanghai last year was a national record then before her training partner Lalita Babar took it away.

“I will try to do a better time at the World Championships next month.”

ANU PROVES A POINT

After Thursday’s roaring start and Friday’s gold shower, Saturday appeared rather quiet. The medals were slow in coming but there was one girl who was thirsting for revenge, or rather, to prove a point.

A year ago, there were many who did not want Anu Raghavan in the Indian 4x400m relay team for the Olympics though she had the timings that should have got her in. She went to the Kerala High Court seeking justice. The gritty Anu won the 400m hurdles silver, her maiden Asians medal, and was all smiles as about 50 media cameras and mikes were thrust at her, keen to hear her. She stepped back, smiled and savoured the moment.

“This silver means a lot to me, I did not run the 400m in the recent Federation Cup because even if you do well, you may not get a place in the relay team,” said the 24-year-old from Palakkad who is coached by P.B. Jaikumar. “That is why I wanted to do in this event.”

Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi won the gold. Another Kerala athlete, M.P. Jabir, won a bronze in the men’s 400m hurdles, his first big international medal while women’s triple jumper N.V. Sheena and the women’s 4x100m relay team won bronze medals.

There was some disappointment too with Siddhanth Thingalaya, the 110m national record holder who had predicted a gold here, finishing a disappointing fifth.

There was a big upset with Korea’s Woo Sang-Hyeok, virtually the third seed here, surprising China’s Zhang Guowei, the silver medallist at the last Worlds in Beijing two years ago, and the in-form Syrian star Majed Aldin Gazal to win the men’s high jump gold.

The results

Men

4x100m relay: 1. China (39.38s), 2. Thailand (39.38), 3. Hong Kong (39.53).

110m hurdles: 1. A. Almandeel (Kuw) 13.50s, 2. Yaqoub M. Alyouha (Kuw) 13.59, 3. Ahmed Khader (KSA) 13.61, 5. Siddhanth Thingalaya (Ind) 13.72.

400m hurdles: 1. Eric Shauwn Cray (Phi) 49.57s, 2. Chen Chieh (Tpe) 49.75, 3. M.P. Jabir (Ind) 50.22, 6. Santhosh Kumar (Ind) 50.95.

3000m steeple chase: 1. Hossein Keyhani (Irn) 8:43.82s, 2. Yaser Salem (Qat) 8:46.16, 3. Ali Ahmad (KSA) 8:52.64, 7. Naveen Kumar (Ind) 9:02.95, 8. Durga Bahadur Budha (Ind) 9:04.05.

High jump: 1. Woo Sang-Hyeok (Kor) 2.30m, 2. Zhang Guowei (Chn) 2.28, 3. Majed Aldin Gazal (Syr) 2.24, 5. B. Chethan (Ind) 2.20, 11. Ajay Kumar (Ind) 2.15.

Hammer throw: 1. Dilshod Nazarov (Taj) 76.69m, 2. Wang Shizhu (Chn) 73.81, 3. Lee Ywunchul (Kor) 73.77, 9. Niraj Kumar (Ind) 63.26.

Women

4x100 relay: 1. Kazakhstan (43.53s), 2. China (44.50), 3. India (Merlin K. Joseph, Himashree Roy, Srabani Nanda, Dutee Chand) 44.57s.

100m hurdles: 1. Jung Hyelim (Kor) 13.16s, 2. Ayako Kimura (Jpn) 13.30, 3. Wang Dou (Chn) 13.36.

400m hurdles: 1. Thi Nguyen (Vie) 56.14s, 2. Anu Raghavan (Ind) 57.22, 3. Sayaka Aoki (Jpn) 58.18, 6. Juana Murmu (Ind) 59.11, 7. M. Arpitha (Ind) 59.78.

3000m steeple chase: 1. Sudha Singh (Ind) 9:59.47s, 2. Hyo Gyong (N.Kor)10:13:94, 3. Nana Sato (Jpn) 10:18.11, 4. Parul Chaudhary (Ind) 10:22.99).

Triple jump: 1. Mariya Ovchinnikova (Kaz) 13.72m, 2. Irina Ektova (Kaz) 13.62, 3. N.V. Sheena (Ind) 13.42, 7. Joyline Mural Lobo (Ind) 12.71.