Qatar had to be content with three silver medals at the Asian Athletics Championships being held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India yesterday. Femi Seun Ogunode, Jamal Hairane and Yaser Salem all three had settle for silver after performing below their best in their respective events in rainy conditions.
India’s Ajaoy Kumar Saroj (centre) won ahead of Qatar’s Asian Games bronze medallist Jamal Hairane (right) in the 1,500m. (AFP)
The biggest surprise came in the men’s 100m final. Hassan Taftian of Iran came from behind in the last half of the race to clinch gold by a hundredth of a second, ahead of defending Asian champion Ogunode. The Qatari sprinter clocked 10.26 seconds to Taftian’s 10.25. Yang Chun-Han of Chinese Taipei claimed bronze in a tightly contested field.
In the men’s 1,500m, Qatar’s Asian Games bronze medallist Jamal Hairane was quite convincingly beaten by India’s Ajay Kumar Saroj. The Indian runner clocked in an impressive 3:45.85 seconds and finished over a second ahead of Hairane, while Iran’s Moslem Niadoost rounded off the medals by taking bronze.
On Thursday, the first day of the event, Yaser Salem had picked silver after finishing second in the men’s 5000m. Salem was almost second behind winners G Lakshmanan of India, who came home in 14.54.48 seconds. Tariq Ahmed of Saudi Arabia was third.
Meanwhile, it was a superb day for Indian athletes as they bagged four gold medals yesterday. Heavy showers disrupted the proceedings of the evening session on Day Two, but it wasn’t enough to stop fans from cheering for the Indian athletes who responded in style on a day where 10 medal events were at stake.
India’s lead in the medal standings stayed put as they won four gold, two silver and two bronze medals to add to their tally on Day One. The hosts now have six gold, three silver and six bronze medals overall.
Nirmala Sheoran broke into the lead at the last turn and stayed there until the end under the unrelenting rain to take gold with a time of 52.01 seconds in the women’s 400m, while Quach Thi of Vietnam ended with the silver medal with 52.78. Jisna Mathew completed the medals by taking third place, while 2015 Asian Championships silver winner and Asian Games bronze medallist MR Poovamma finished just outside the medal standings.
National champion Muhammad Anas, who broke the national record in the men’s 400m two months ago, emerged in the lead at the final turn and held off stiff competition from compatriot Rajiv Arokia to make it an Indian one-two in pouring rain. Anas finished with an impressive time of 45.77 seconds and Arokia took silver with 46.14 seconds, just ahead of Oman’s Ahmed Mubarak who settled for bronze. Just like Poovamma in the women’s 400m, Amoj Jacob also finished fourth, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal.
In the women’s 1,500m, Chitra P U dominated the field after a spectacular flourish in the final lap and opened up a lead of more than a second over China’s Geng Min and Japan’s Ayako Jinnouchi, who got silver and bronze respectively.
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