Team Qatar concluded the 23rd edition of the Asian Athletics Championship with a silver and two bronze medals on the final day yesterday, with the men’s 4x400m relay team, Ashraf El-Seify and Musaab Ali making it to the podium.
Overall, Qatar won two gold medals, something they had missed out on doing last time in 2017, besides a silver and three bronze.
In front of a noisy crowd at the state-of-the-art Khalifa International Stadium, the former World U20 champion El-Seify had led his event with a 73.27m effort before Tajikistan’s Dilshad Nazarov came up with a 73.28 on his fourth attempt.
Nazarov, who had lost to El-Seify in the 2018 Asian Games, then stamped his authority with a 76.14m on his fifth to eventually win his fifth Asian gold.
“It took me some time to find my rhythm because it was cold today but in general it happens with the hammer throwers to slowly find a big throw,” El-Seify said after the event. “I want to throw 80m this season, that is my aim. If I make it here in Doha at the World Championships, I could be placed in a high position.”
Earlier in the evening, the men’s 4x400m relay quartet of Ashraf Hussein Osman, Abubaker Haydar Abdalla, Bassem Hemeida and Abderrahman Samba took bronze, with Japan taking the gold.
India had crossed the line second ahead of China and Qatar, but were later disqualified for jostling and obstruction, and both China and Qatar were upgraded in their positions.
Qatar’s first medal of the day was courtesy Musaab Ali, who won the bronze in the men’s 1500m after a photo was pulled out for the decision between him and India’s Ajay Kumar Saroj. Eventually, a last-ditch effort by Saroj earned him the silver with both the runners finishing in season’s best 3:43.18. Bahrain’s Abraham Rotich took the gold in 3:42.85.
“Yesterday in the heat, I went in front from the beginning but in the end I hardly qualified. So today we decided to play the waiting game and push hard in the end. The gold was within my grasp but I didn’t make it,” Ali said after the run.
He added: “Overall I am content, I know I can run fast starting from the Diamond League here in Doha. My goal for the season is to be ready for the World Championships.”
In a heartbreaking turn of events, Femi Ogunode’s 200m race came to an agonising end courtesy what looked like a hamstring niggle 70-odd metres out from the finish line. The Asian record holder had complained of a left hamstring problem on Tuesday after the semi-final run.
At the finish line, the 2013 winner Xie Zhenye of China raced to a gold winning time of 20.33 seconds, ahead of Yuki Koike (20.55) of Japan. Bahrain’s Yaqoob Salem (20.84) picked up a bronze beating Lebanon’s Noureddine Hadid by a whisker at the finish line.
This was China’s last and ninth gold of the championships, which put them on top of points table with a total of 294 points.
On the field, a championship record effort of 65.36m saw China’s Bin Feng take the gold ahead of 2017 winner and compatriot Yang Chen (61.87) in the women’s discus throw. Thailand’s Subenrat Insaeng (58.20) won bronze.
Eight years after winning his first Asian medal, a silver, Syria’s Majdeddin Ghazal finally stepped on to the top podium yesterday, with a 2.31m effort in men’s high jump with Qatari World Champion Mutaz Barshim in the audience.
Defending champion Chitra P won India’s third and last gold of the championships, when she retained her 1500m title, beating Jakarta runner up Gashaw Tigest (4:14.81) for the gold.
In the first finals of the day, Japan’s Ayako Kimura won her second women’s 100m hurdles crown when the 30-year-old ran a 13.13 seconds for Japan’s second gold at the Championships.
Two-time Asian Games champion, China’s Xie Wenjun was in his elements with a clean run, even as many around him clipped hurdle too many in the 110m hurdles final yesterday.
The 2015 Asian Championships winner beat compatriot Liu Xiang’s championship record from 2011 by one hundredth of a second in a time of 13.21 seconds.
Yaqoub al-Youha won the third medal for Kuwait with a national record 13.35 seconds, edging out Kuei-Ru Chen (13.39) of Taipei.
Bahrain’s Salwa Naser chased down India’s V. Velluvakoroth, who had held a healthy gap on the back straight, in the final lap of the women’s 4x400m relay for her fourth gold of the championships. India had to settle for silver in a time of 3:32.21, one tenth of a second behind Bahrain.
Earlier in the day, Naser beat the 17-year-old championship record in 200m by one tenth of a second in a time of 22.74 seconds. Naser had won gold in her specialized 400m event on the first day, and then was part of the winning 4x400m mixed team on Tuesday.
Kazakhstan’s Olga Safronova too won her third medal of the competition, having won the 100m and then a silver in the 4x100m, finishing second behind Naser. India’s Dutee Chand out-leaned Bahrain’s Edidionh Odiong for a bronze with both running 23.24.
Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew and compatriot Albert Rop locked the top two spots in the men’s 5000m respectively, with Hiroki Matsueda of Japan taking bronze.
Qatar’s Yaser Bagharab ran a personal best 13:56.30 for a seventh place finish.
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