SAG: Indians dominate landmark-heavy athletics day

India won 10 gold medals out of 14, on the second day of athlectics at the South Asian Games on Wednesday. Notwithstanding the poor conditions, the day was also marked by the birth of four new meet marks, of which three were accounted by all-conquering Indians.

Neeraj Chopra threw the javelin at a distance of 82.23 metres to win the gold.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Neeraj Chopra (centre), R. M. S. J. Ranasinghe (right) and Arshad Nadeem (left) with their gold, silver, and bronze medals respectively.   -  PTI

The conditions were far from perfect what with a cold wind blowing across the Indira Gandhi stadium, Sarasujai, leaving the athletes in discomfort and struggling to remain keyed up to meet the challenges.

However, still, the second day of the athletics events of the 12th South Asian Games on Wednesday was one that provided both joy and pride to the Indian team, which ended up with a glorious run of 10 gold medals out of the 14 decided. Notwithstanding the poor conditions, the day was also marked by the birth of four new meet marks, of which three were accounted by all-conquering Indians.

Eventually, there was no dispute among anyone on who the hero of the day was as young Neeraj Chopra faced little competition on this front. The Punjab javelin thrower, who has been making waves after setting the leading junior mark in the world of the season with his effort of 81.04m last month, had three reasons to celebrate as he demolished the rest of the field in his pet event.

The 1997-born displayed great technique as he sent the spear to the magical distance of 82.23m in his opening attempt of the competition, which by itself buried his rivals of the day. And what it signified was the equalling of the existing National senior record against the name of Rajinder Singh since last year’s 35th National Games in Thiruvananthapuram, a new career high and thirdly a new Games record, erasing the earlier mark of 78.01m by quite a distance.

The youngster, despite his gallant start, was unable to repeat his opening attempt or go one better as the weather conditions changed dramatically. He had a no mark in his second trial and the best he could achieve through four attempts was 79.68m, off his last and sixth effort. R. M. S. J. Ranasinghe, too, did touch the 80-metre mark as he came second ahead of Arshad Nadeem, in third place.

Ankit Sharma and K. Prem Kumar, too, struggled to find the right form as they dominated the men’s long jump. The supremacy of the duo was never in doubt before Ankit sealed the gold with a new mark with a sixth attempt of 7.89m. Prem Kumar, settling for silver, had a best of 7.62m as against the distance of 7.46m touched by third-placed Amla Jayasiri (Sri Lanka).

The same was the story in the men’s 10,000 metre as T. Gopi and Suresh Kumar came through without much of a difficulty to clinch a well-deserving 1-2 for India. There was hardly any competition for the duo as they took to the lead after the initial two laps and stayed right at front before Gopi forged ahead in the last curve with a fine sprint and crossed the line in 29:10.53, to better the existing Games mark of 29:30.23. Suresh in second was timed 29:20.49.

The fourth meet mark of the day came through Sri Lankan M. H. I. Sandaruwan, who vaulted to a new high of 4.90m in men’s pole vault. The Sri Lankan, with the wind blowing behind him, was not much happy with the conditions before winning ahead of Indian Sonu Saini, who vanished at 4.50m along with Pakistani Rehan Anjum.

Besides the meet marks, the day also offered quite a few reasons for the home team to celebrate as Arokya Rajeev and M. R. Poovamma took the 400m gold medals of their respective sections. Mayookha Johny completed a grand double by adding the triple jump title to the long jump gold medal won on Tuesday, and Tamil Nadu’s Gayathry Govindaraj retained her 2010 Dhaka gold medal in the 100m hurdles.

The results:

Men: 400m: 1. Arokya Rajeev (Ind), 46.23, 2. Kunhi Mohamed (Ind), 46.73s, 3. H.M. Dilip Ruwan (SL), 47.90s. 800m: 1. Indunil Herath (SL), 1:51.46, 2. Muhammad Ikram (Pak), 1:51.96, 3. Ajay Kumar Saroj (Ind), 1:52.04. 10000m: 1, T. Gopi (Ind), 29:10.53 – NGR; OR – 29:30.23, 2. Suresh Kumar (Ind), 29:20.49, 3. D.I. Samrajeewa (SL0, 30:22.54. 110m hurdles: 1. J. Surendhar (Ind), 14.13s, 2. K. Prem Kumar (Ind), 14.18s, 3. Mohsin Ali (Pak), 14.26s.

Long jump: 1 Ankit Sharma (Ind), 7.89m – NGR; OR – 7.79m, 2. K. Prem Kumar (Ind), 7.62m, 3. Amila Jayasiri (SL), 7.46m. Pole vault: 1. M.H.I. Sandruwan (SL), 4.90m – NGR; OR – 4.81m, 2. Sonu Saini (Ind), 4.50m, 3. Rehan Anjum (Pak), 4.50m.

Discus throw: 1. Arjun (Ind), 57.21m, 2. Kripal Singh (Ind), 56.59m, 3. K.G.U.P. Jaywardana (SL), 53.52m. Javelin throw: 1. Neeraj Chopra (Ind), 82.23m – NGR; OR – 78.01m, 2. R.M.S.I. Ransinghe (SL), 80.25m, 3. Arshad Nadeem (Pak), 78.33m.

4 x 100m relay: 1. Sri Lanka, 39.96s, 2. Pakistan, 40.56s, 3. India, 41.09s.

Women: 400m: 1. M.R. Poovamma (Ind), 54.1s (HT), 2. R.M.C.S. Rasmayaka (SL), 54.4s, 3. Omaya Udayaanganni (SL), 54.7s. 100m hurdles: 1. Gayathry Govindraj (Ind), 13.83s, 2. K.V. Sajitha (Ind), 14.26s, 3. RA.I.S. rajasinghe (SL), 14.37s. High Jump: 1. Sahana Kumari (Ind), 1.78m, 2. L.G.A.T. Vinodani (SL), 1.75m, 3. Swapna Burman (Ind), 1.75m. Triple jump: 1. Mayookha Johny (Ind),, 13.85m, 2. H.D. Vidusha Lakshani (SL), 13.18m, 3. M.A. Prajusha (Ind), 12.95m. 4 x 100m relay: 1. Sri Lanka, 45.50s, 2. India, 45.79s, 3. Bangladesh, 47.44s.

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