Asian Athletics Championship: India bag five medals including two silvers on Day 1https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/sport-others/asian-athletics-championship-india-medals-tally-annu-rani-parul-chaudhary-5687270/

Asian Athletics Championship: India bag five medals including two silvers on Day 1

India opened their medal tally at the 23rd Asian Athletics Championship in Doha with Annu Rani and Avinash Sable winning silver medals and Parul Chaudhary, M P Poovamma and Gavit Murali Kumar bagging bronze.

Annu Rani of India competes in her Javelin throw final during the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar
Annu Rani won silver medal with best throw of 60.22 metres at Asian Athletics Championships. (Source: AP/PTI)

India opened their account at the 23rd Asian Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar on Sunday (April 21) when Annu Rani won the silver medal in women’s javelin throw and almost at the same time, Parul Chaudhary bagged a bronze medal in women’s 5000m race. Avinash Sable won a silver medal in men’s 3000m steeplechase.

MR Poovamma finished third in women’s 400m with a time of 53.21s and Gavit Murali Kumar bagged another bronze medal for India in the 10,000m event.

With five medals to their name, India were fifth in the medals tally. Bahrain lead the table (7 medals), China second (5 medals), Iran third (2 medals) and Philippines fourth (1 medal).

Earlier in the day, Dutee Chand qualified for the 100m semi-finals following a national record-breaking performance. Meanwhile, there was heartbreak for Hima Das who picked up an injury during her 400m heats.

Annu Rani had won a bronze medal at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar with a throw of 57.32 metres. On Sunday she bettered that throw with 60.22 metres in her first throw. Huihui Lyu of China won the gold medal with a throw of 65.83 in her second attempt.

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The Chinese athlete had multiple 60.0+ metre throws going 64.92 metres in her first throw, 62.37m in her third attempt and 62.27m in the sixth throw. Rani, meanwhile, couldn’t improve on her 60.22m with 58.86 metres in the second throw the closest possible.

Annu’s performance was, however, more than 2m short of her national record-shattering effort of 62.34m during Federation Cup last month which gave her a berth in the World Championships to be held in September-October.

“I was keen on doing well as I knew I had trained well for the event. I was pumped up and would have got my career best had I not thrown from far behind the line,” Annu said after winning the medal.

The other Indian in the fray, Sharmila Kumari finished seventh with a best throw of 54.48m.

Natta Nachan of Thailand set her personal best with throw of 56.01 metres to clinch the bronze medal.

Sable clocked 8 minute 30.19 seconds to win a silver in men’s 3000m steeplechase, his first international medal in maiden international competition. It was a remarkable comeback from Sable who was in fourth in the last lap but finished second. “I just gave my everything in the last 250m. I am really happy to win my first medal for the country,” he said.

In the 5000m race, Parul claimed bronze medal with time of 15:36.03 to stand behind gold medallist Winfred Mutile Yavi (15:28.87) and Bontu Rebitu (15:29.60) of Bahrain. “I did not worry about the leaders stepping up the pace. I ran according to plan and how my body felt,” Parul said.

She bettered her earlier personal best of 15:58.35 which she had clocked during the Federation Cup last month. The other Indian in the fray, Sanjivani Jadhav finished fourth with a time of 15:41.12.

In the 400m race, Poovamma, 28, clocked 53.21 seconds to finish third behind Elina Mikhina (53.19) of Kazakhstan and pre-race favourite Salwa Naser (51.34) of Bahrain.

Gavit won India’s final medal of the day with a bronze in men’s 10000m race with a personal best time of 28 minute 38.34 seconds. He finished behind Bahraini runners, Dawit Fikadu (28:26.30) and Hassan Chani (28:31.30).

In men’s 400m, Muhammed Anas and Arokia Rajiv qualified for the finals from their respective semifinals. Saritaben Gayakwad and M Arpitha qualified for women’s 400m hurdles finals from their respective heats while M P Jabir did the same in men’s 400m hurdles. National record holder Jinson Johnson and Mohammed Afsal also qualified for the 800m finals from their respective semi-finals.

In the morning session, Dutee, 23, clocked 11.28 seconds to win the heat number four of the women’s 100m race and qualify for the semifinals. She bettered her earlier national record of 11.29 seconds which she set last year in Guwahati.

The Odisha runner, however, could not touch the 11.24-second qualification mark for the World Championships, to be held here in September-October.

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Other top Indian athletes like Jinson Johnson (men’s 800m), Muhammed Anas and Arokia Rajiv (both men’s 400m), Praveen Chitravel (men’s triple jump) and Gomathi Marimuthu (women’s 1500m) expectedly advanced to the next round of their respective events.

(With PTI inputs)