India Ahead of China In Medals Tally of Asian Athletics C’ship
Gold medals in women’s shot put and men’s 5,000 meters run.
Day one of the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar ended with hosts India on top of the medals tally after picking up a solid seven medals, including two golds. China managed just one gold and two silvers on the opening day.
The two top spots on the podium were bagged by women's shot putter Manpreet Kaur, and Govindan Laxmanan in themen's 5,000 metres final.
V Neena and Nayan James bagged a silver and bronze in women's long jump while Vikas Gowda, Sanjivini Yadav and Annu Rani added a bronze each in the men's discus throw, women's 5000m race and javelin throw respectively.
Manpreet, who turned 27 on Thursday, upstaged defending champion Chinese Guo Tianqian to bag the gold with a career second best throw of 18.28m. Tianqian took the silver at 17.91m and Japan’s Aya Ota got the bronze at 15.45m.
Manpreet’s medal though was one the Indian contingent had counted on following her career’s best throw of 18.86m at Asian Grand Prix in Jianhua in April this year. On Thursday though, even almost an entire meter short was enough for her to finish as the winner.
Manpreet, who returned to the circuit last year after taking some time off due to the birth of a child, said she was happy to have crossed the 18m mark.
This is my second best throw of my career and I am very happy for this performance. Before the event, I told myself that I should go beyond the 18m mark and anything extra beyond that would be satisfied.Manpreet Kaur, Gold medallist - Asian Athletics Championships
Govindan Lakhsmanan then gave India the second gold of the day with an unexpected win in the men's 5000m race.
The 27-year-old had won a bronze in the previous edition of the Championships in Wuhan in 2013 and didn't have the best of starts on Thursday. He was trailing the leading four runners towards the end of the second last lap but then produced a stunning sprint finish over the final 300 metres to win by a handsome margin.
His winning time was 14 minutes 54.48 seconds. Yaser Salem of Qatar was second in 14:55.89 while Tariq Ahmed of of Saudi Arabia took the bronze in 14:56.83.
With the win, Lakhsmanan has also qualified for the World Athletics Championships in London this August by virtue of being the Asian Champion in the event.
India added one silver and one bronze in women's long jump through V Neena and Nayan James by clearing distances of 6.54m and 6.42m respectively. Vietnam's Bui Thi Thu won the gold with a best jump 6.54m, the same as that of Neena, but adjudged the winner as her second best effort of 6.44m was better than that of the Indian's 6.32m.
In the women's 5000m, Sanjivini Yadav added to India's medal tally with a bronze by clocking 16 minute and 00.24 seconds, behind Kyrgyzstan's Daria Maslova (15:57.95) and UAE's Alia Mohammed (15:59.95).
However, in the men's discus throw, Vikas Gowda failed to defend his title but grabbed a bronze with a best effort of 60.81m. Gowda's long-time nemesis at the Asian circuit, Ehsan Haddadi of Iran took the gold with a best throw of 64.54m while Malaysia's Muhammad Irfan took the silver with 60.96m.
Annu Rani ended the day for the hosts by adding a bronze with an effort of 57.32m.
(With inputs from PTI)
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