Same old story

China’s Su Bingtian defended his title in the men’s 100m.-R. RAGU

Most of the teams rested their top athletes and constant rain too prevented the participants from putting their best foot forward. A. Vinod reports.

In the end, it was sadly the same old drab story. China dominated the 20th Asian athletics championships and the overall content at the July 3 to 7 meet at the Shiv Chhatrapati Stadium in Balewadi, Pune, fell well short of expectations.

Of course, the reasons for the disappointing show were not far to seek. Teams, perhaps barring those from West Asia and host India, rested almost all their top athletes what with the World championships in Moscow just a little over a month away. Constant rain too prevented the athletes from putting their best foot forward.

At a time when the meet — returning to Indian soil after a gap of 24 years — was almost on the verge of being shifted out of India, the Maharashtra Government came to the rescue of the Athletics Federation of India and helped it conduct the event in Pune at short notice. The travails of the AFI notwithstanding, the meet was well organised. It would have been even better had the athletes matched the drama at the Asian Athletics Association Congress, which preceded the start of the five-day event, when incumbent Suresh Kalmadi was denied a fourth term. Kalmadi was defeated by a narrow margin of two votes (20-18) by his Qatari rival, Brig. Dahlan Jumaan Al-Hamad for the post of the AAA President.

Consequently, there were only a few standout performances. In the men’s section, China’s Su Bingtian successfully defended his 100m title from Kobe two years ago with a memorable win over Qatar’s Samuel Francis — the only Asian till date to run the distance in under 10s. Kazakhstan’s Dmitry Karpov posted a new championship record of 8037 points in the back-breaking decathlon while the Saudi Arabian quartet of Mohammed Alsubiani, Ali Albishi, Obaid Alsalhi and Yousef Ahmed Al-Masrahi set a new mark in the 4x400m relay, clocking 3:02.53.

Vikas Gowda... golden throw in the men's discus.-K. MURALI KUMAR

Al-Masrahi, who was later adjudged the best athlete in his section, other than his anchor role in the 1600m relay was also an easy winner in the 400m at 45.08s, though in no way matching his season’s best of 44.72s. Also in focus in more ways than one was the ding-dong battle of supremacy between Dilshod Nazarov (Tajikistan) and Ali Zenkawi (Kuwait). Their stirring rivalry in the men’s hammer throw dates back to 2003. Nazarov had missed the last edition in 2011 and this had given way to Zenkawi to approach Pune with the hope of a fifth gold medal in the event. However, it was the Tajik athlete who had the last laugh as he left his long-term rival well behind with a throw of 78.32m.

Women, comparatively, fared better in the meet with more record-breaking efforts than the men. The championships would be best remembered for the thrilling show from Kenyan-born Betlhem Belayneh Desalegn. She gifted her adopted country, the United Arab Emirates, its first 1500m gold medal. She later emerged as the lone athlete to win two individual events in the meet, adding the 5000m gold with a record to boot on the final day.

Besides Desalegn, quite a few others hogged the limelight. The Bahrain duo of Ruth Jebet (just 16 years old, and later named the best athlete in the section) and Shitaye Eshete, won the 3000m steeplechase and the 10000m respectively with record timings. China’s Li Ling and Li Lingwei bagged the pole vault and javelin throw golds respectively, also with record-breaking efforts.

Host India had a jumbo contingent of 108 athletes in the fray. Though it improved upon its performance, compared to Kobe in 2011, with a haul of two gold, six silver and nine bronze medals and eventually ended up sixth in the medals tally behind China (16-6-5), Bahrain (5-7-3), Japan (4-6-10), Saudi Arabia (4-2-1) and Uzbekistan (3-4-1), it was still a far cry to the second position in New Delhi in 1989.

Among the home team performers, the most impressive were Vikas Gowda, who, on the eve of his 31st birthday, presented himself the gold medal in the men’s discus with a throw of 64.90m — his best on Indian soil — and the women’s 1600m relay quartet of Nirmala Sheoran, Tintu Luka, Anu Mariam Jose and M. R. Poovamma. The relay team clocked 3:32.26 at the expense of the more fancied China and Japan and also finished under the WC qualifying standard of 3:33.00.

Striking gold... The Indian women's 4x400m relay team (from far left) Nirmala, Tintu Luka, Jose Anu Mariam and Poovamma.-R. RAGU

Both Renjith Maheswary and K. Prem Kumar were unlucky as rain affected their performance. They finished second in the men’s triple and long jump respectively. Poovamma ended up in the same position due to a tactical blunder in the third part of the women’s 400m. Sudha Singh was blown away by the speedy display of Ruth Jebet in the 3000m steeplechase even as Asha Roy won a bonus silver for India in the 200m, competing with Kazakhstan’s Viktoriya Zyabkina stride for stride in the final.

Jithin C. Thomas came up with a gritty display to take the silver medal in the men’s high jump. It would have been difficult, but for the absence of the world leading performer Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar).

Women’s long jumper Mayookha Johny, the lone gold medallist in Kobe, could only finish with a bronze medal this time round owing to a ligament tear in her right ankle. The other bronze medals for the country came from Om Prakash Singh (shot put), Ratiram Saini (10000m), Samarjit Singh (javelin throw), Satinder Singh (400m hurdles) Arpinder Singh (triple jump) — all in the men’s section and Tintu Luka (800m), Dutee Chand (200m) and J. Hemasree (100m hurdles) in the women’s section.

Coach Bahadur Singh had hinted on the eve of the championships that fielding such a huge contingent was mostly to provide the juniors with international exposure and that he expected only a marginal improvement in the medals tally as compared to 2011. His words were indeed prophetic but the simple fact remains: Indian athletics has still a long way to go.

THE RESULTS Men:

100m: 1. Su Bingtian (Chn) 10.17s, 2. Samuel Francis (Qat) 10.27s, 3. Barakat Al Harthi (Oma) 10.30s.

200m: 1. Xie Zhenye (Chn) 20.87s, 2. Fahad Mohammed Alsubaie (KSA) 20.92s, 3. Kei Takase (Jpn) 20.92s.

400m: 1. Yousef Ahmed Masrahi (KSA) 45.08s, 2. Ali Khamis (Brn) 45.65s, 3. Yuzo Kanemaru (Jpn) 45.95s, 5. P. Kunhimohammed (Ind) 46.61s, 6. Arokia Rajiv (Ind) 46.63s.

800m: 1. Musaab Abdelrahman Balla (Qat) 1:46.92, 2. Abdulaziz Ladan Mohammed (KSA) 1:47.01, 3. Bilal Mansour Ali (Brn) 1:48.56, 4. Manjit Singh (Ind) 1:49.70.

1500m: 1. Emad Hamed Nour (KSA) 3:39.51, 2. Mohamad Algarni (Qat) 3:40.75, 3. Bilal Masour Ali ( Brn) 3:40.96, 7. Sandeep Karan Singh (Ind) 3:50.41, 9. Pranjal Gogoi (Ind) 3:56.01.

5000m: 1. Dejene Regassa Mooto (Brn) 13:53.25, 2. Alemu Gebre Bekele (Brn) 13:57.23, 3. Emad Hamed Noor (KSA) 14:05.88, 4. G. Lakshmanan (Ind) 14:17.10, 5. Nitender Singh (Ind) 14:19.43, 7. Mohammad Yunus (Ind) 14:32.32.

10000m: 1. Alemu Gebre Bekele (Brn) 28:47.26, 2. Bilisuma Gelas Shumi (Brn) 28:58.67, 3. Ratiram Saini (Ind) 29:35.42, 4. Kheta Ram (Ind) 29:35.72, 5. G. Lakshmanan (Ind) 30: 46.45.

110m hurdles: 1. Jiang Fan (Chn) 13.61s, 2. Abdulaziz Almandeei (Kuw), 3. Wataru Yazawa (Jpn) 13.88s, 4. Siddanth Thingalaya (Ind) 13.89s.

400m hurdles: 1. Yashuhir Fueki (Jpn) 49.86s, 2. Cheng Wen (Chn) 50.07s, 3. Satinder Sindh (Ind) 50.35s.

3000m steeplechase: 1. Tarek Mubarak Taher (Brn) 8:34.77, 2. Dejen Regassa Mooto (Brn) 8:37.40, 3. Tsuyoshi Takeda (Jpn) 8:48.48, 4. Naveen Kumar (Ind) 8:49.95, 7. Jaiveer Singh (Ind) 9:02.11.

High jump: 1. Bi Xiaoliang (Chn) 2.21m, 2. Jithin C. Thomas (Ind) & Keyvan Ghanbarzadeh (Iri) 2.21m.

Long jump: 1. Wang Jianan (Chn) 7.95m, 2. K. Prem Kumar (Ind) 7.92m, 3. Tang Gongchen (Chn) 7.89m, 9. Ankit Sharma (Ind) 7.35m.

Triple jump: 1. Cao Shao (Chn) 16.77m, 2. Renjith Maheswary (Ind) 16.76m, 3. Arpinder Singh (Ind) 16.58m, 6. Mohammed Salahuddin (Ind) 15.71m.

Pole vault: 1. Xue Changrui (Chn) 5.60m, 2. Lu Yao (Chn) 5.20m, 3 Jin Min Sub (S. Kor) 5.20m, 7. P. Balakrishna (Ind) 4.90m. (Praveen Kumar, the second Indian entrant no-heighted).

Shot put: 1. Sultan Abdul Majeed Allheb (KSA) 19.68m, 2. Chang Ming-Huang (Tpe) 19.61m, 3. Om Prakash Singh (Ind) 19.45m, 4. Inderjeet Singh (Ind) 19.31m, 8. Satyendra Singh (Ind) 18.01m.

Discus throw: 1. Vikas Gowda (Ind) 64.90m, 2. Mohammad Samimi (Iri) 61.93m, 3. Ahmed Mohammed Dheeb (Qat) 60.82m, 11. Arjun Kumar (Ind) 52.90m, 12. Vikas Poonia (Ind) 51.30m.

Javelin throw: 1. Ivan Zaysev (Uzb) 79.76m, 2. C. Sachith Madhuranga (SL) 79.62m, 3. Samarjit Singh (Ind) 75.03m, 4. Krishan Kumar Patel (Ind) 73.36m, 7. Rajendra Singh (Ind) 71.82m.

Hammer throw: 1. Dilshod Nazarov (Tjk) 78.32m, 2. Ali Zenkawi (Kuw) 74.70m, 3. Qi Dakai (Chn) 74.19m, 8. Chandrodaya Singh (Ind) 67.42m, 11. Kamalpreet Singh (Ind) 63.18m.

Decathlon: 1. Dmitriy Karpov (Kaz) 8037 points — New Meet Record (Old record: V. Smirnov (Uzb) 8021 pts in 2003), 2. Akihiko Nakamura (Jpn) 7620 pts, 3. Leonid Andreyev (Uzb) 7383 pts, 5. Daya Ram (Ind) 6705 pts, 6. K. Dileep Kumar (Ind), 6544 pts.

4x100m relay: 1. Hong Kong 38.94s, 2. Japan 39.11s, 3. China 39.17s.

4 x 400m relay: 1. Saudi Arabia 3:02.53 — NMR (OR: Japan 3:02.61 in 1998), 2. Japan 3:04.46, 3. Sri Lanka 3:04.92, 4. India 3:06.01.

Women:

100m: 1. Wei Yongli (Chn) 11.29s, 2. Chisato Fukishima (Jpn) 11.53s, 3. Tao Yujia (Chn) 11.63s.

200m: 1. Viktoriya Zyabkina (Kaz) 23.62s, 2. Asha Roy (Ind) 23.71s, 3. Dutee Chand (Ind) 23.82s, 7. Srabani Nanda (Ind) 24.38s.

400m: 1. Zhao Yammin (Chn) 52.49s, 2. M. R. Poovamma (Ind) 53.37s, 3. Taslakian Gretta (Lib) 53.43s, 4. Anu Mariam Jose (Ind) 53.49s, 7. Nirmala (Ind) 55.40s.

800m: 1. Wang Chunyu (Chn) 2:02.47, 2. Regasa Genzeb Shumi (Brn) 2:04.16, 3. Tintu Luka (Ind) 2:04.48, 6. Sushma Devi (Ind) 2:06.31, 7. M. Gomathi (Ind) 2:10.74.

1500m: 1. Betlhem Belayneh Desalegn (UAE) 4:13.67, 2. Mimi Belete Gebregeiorges (Brn) 4:14.04, 3. Ayako Jinnouchi (Jpn) 4:16.73, 4. Sini A. Markose (Ind) 4:17.14, 5. O. P. Jaisha (Ind) 4:20.11, 6. Jhuma Khatoon (Ind) 4:22.52.

5000m: 1. Betlhem Belayneh Desalegn (UAE) 15:12.84 — NMR (OR: T. Chalchissa (Brn) 15:22.48 in 2011), 2. Shitaye Eshete (Brn) 15:22.17, 3. Tejtu Daba Chalchis (Brn) 15:38.63, 7. Preeja Sreedharan (Ind) 16:29.64, 8. O. P. Jaisha (Ind) 16: 35.47.

10000m: 1. Shitaye Eshete (Brn) 32:17.29 — NMR (OR: Z. Huandi (Chn) 32:25.17 in 1989), 2. Alia Saeed (UAE) 32:39.39, 3. Ayumi Hagiwara (Jpn) 32:47.44, 4. Preeja Sreedharan (Ind) 33:41.97, 7. L. Suriya (Ind) 34:43.63, 8. Monika Athare (Ind) 34:44.38.

100m hurdles: 1. Ayako Kimura (Jpn) 13.25s, 2. Anastassiya Soprlinov (Kaz) 13.44s, 3. J. Hemasree (Ind) 14.01s, 4. Gayathry Govindaraj (Ind) 14.07s.

400m hurdles: 1. Satomi Kubokura (Jpn) 56.8s, 2. Manami Kira (Jpn) 57.78s, 3. Jo Eun-Ju (Kor) 58.21, 6. R. Elavarasi (Ind) 1:04.12.

3000m steeplechase: 1. Ruth Jebet (Brn) 9:40.84 — NMR (OR: Minori Hayakari (Jpn) 9:52.42 in 2011), 2. Sudha Singh (Ind) 9:56.27, 3. Pak Kum Hyang (DPRK) 10:09.80, 7. Kiran Tiwari (Ind) 10:48.02, 9. Priyanka Singh Patel (Ind) 11:07.34.

High jump: 1. Nadia Dusanova (Uzb) 1.90m, 2. Svetlana Radzivil (Uzb) 1.88m, 3. Marina Aitova (Kaz) 1.88m, 4. Sahana Kumari (Ind) 1.86m, 10. Mallika Mondal (Ind) 1.75m.

Long jump: 1. Sachiko Masumi (Jpn) 6.55m, 2. Anastasiya Juravleva (Uzb) 6.36m, 3. Mayookha Johny (Ind) 6.30m, 6. M. A. Prajusha (Ind) 6.12m, 10. V. Neena (Ind) 5.75m.

Triple jump: 1. Anastasiya Juravleva (Uzb) 14.18m, 2. Aleksandra Kotlyarova (Uzb) 13.89m, 3. Irina Ektova (Kaz) 13.75m, 7. Amitha Baby (Ind) 12.57m.

Pole vault: 1. Li Ling (Chn), 4.54m — NMR (OR: Gao Shuying (Chn) 4.53m in 1985), 2. Ren Mingqian (Chn) 4.40m, 3. Sukanya Chomchuende (Tha) 4.15m, 8. Khyati Vakharia (Ind) 3.90m, 9. V. S. Sureka (Ind) 3.80m.

Shot put: 1. Liu Xiangrong (Chn) 18.67m, 2. Leyla Rajabi (Iri) 18.18m, 3. Gao Yang (Chn) 17.76m, 8. Neha Singh (Ind) 13,73m, 9. Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (Ind) 12.91m.

Discus throw: 1. Su Xinyue (Chn) 55.88m, 2. Jiang Fengjing (Chn) 55.70m, 3. Li Tsai-yi (Tpe) 55.32m, 4. Krishna Poonia (Ind) 55.01m, 5. Seema Antil (Ind) 52.58m, 7. Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (Ind) 45.33m.

Javelin throw: 1. Li Lingwei (Chn) 60.65m — NMR (OR: B. Phamang (Tha) 58.35m in 2007), 2. Nadeeka Lakmali (SL) 60.16m, 3. Risa Minyashita (Jpn) 55.30m, 7. Annu Rani (Ind) 52.29m, 9. Suman Devi (Ind) 48.13m, 11. Mukesh Kumari (Ind) 44.54m.

Hammer throw: 1. Wang Zheng (Chn) 72.78m — NMR (OR: Z. Wenxiu (Chn) 72.07m in 2009), 2. Liu Tingting (Chn) 67.16m, 3. Masum Aya (Jpn) 63.41m, 5. Manju Bala (Ind) 58.02m, 6. Gunjan Singh (Ind) 55.05m.

Heptathlon: 1. Wassana Winatho (Tha) 5818 points, 2. Yekaterina Voronina (Uzb) 5599 pts, 3. Chie Kiriyama (Jpn) 5451 pts, 5. Susmita Singha Roy (Ind) 5328 pts, 6. Navpreet Kaur (Ind) 5217 pts, 7. Liksy Joseph (Ind) 4989 pts.

4x100m relay: 1. China 44.01s, 2. Japan 44.38s, 3. Thailand 44.44s, 4. India 45.03s.

4x400m relay: 1. India (Nirmala, Tintu Luka, Anu Mariam Jose, M. R. Poovamma) 3:32.26, 2. China 3:35.31, 3. Japan 3:35.72.