By: ENS & PTI
When shot-putter Inderjeet Singh stepped into the circle at the Wuhan Sports Centre he felt the ground beneath his feet slip. Grains of sand were breaking off from the newly-laid concrete throwing circle and causing him to be unsure of his footing.
For the giant athletes, who have to twist and throw within the little over two-metre diameter circle, an imbalance can make them edgy. Inderjeet, however, braced himself and shut-out the apprehension caused by the lack of grip and prepared for his first throw. Unsurprisingly, it was a foul.
However, the leading thrower from the continent this year had a reputation to defend at the Asian Athletics Championships in Wuhan. In his second attempt, he managed to register a throw of 20 metres and followed it up with 20.33, 20.41 and 20.19.
His fourth attempt was good enough for him to win gold and once again prove that consistency is his middle name. The fact that he was the only competitor to cross the 20-metre barrier indicated that he wasn’t challenged enough by his competitors to push himself to the limit.
Inderjeet could not improve on his personal best of 20.65 metres — at the Federation Cup in Mangalore — but yet another medal at a continental meet only shows that he is not a flash-in-the-pan kind of athlete. Incidentally, Inderjeet’s gold-medal winning throw of 20.41 on Wednesday was better than his 19.63 — the distance which won him a bronze at the Asiad last year.
Inderjeet became only the seventh Indian shot putter to win a gold medal in the history of Asian championships, joining Jagraj Singh (1973), Bahadur Singh (1975), Balwinder Singh (1985 and 1989), Shakti Singh (2000), Navpreet Singh (2007) and Om Prakash Singh Karhana (2009).
“If conditions and the weather were ideal I could have broken my personal best or even crossed the 21-metre mark. But I am happy that I could win gold for the country,” said the athlete who is unemployed.
Chang Ming-Huang of Chinese Taipei won the silver with a throw of 19.56m, while Tian Zizhong of the home country bagged the bronze with an effort of 19.25m.
In the other finals of the day, woman long jumper Mayookha Johny finished sixth with a 6.24m effort, while Gayathry Govindharajan ended at seventh position in women’s 100m hurdles with a timing of 13.69 secs. In men’s 110m hurdles, national record-holder Siddhanth Thingalaya crashed out in the heats with a disappointing timing of 14.10secs.
M R Poovamma qualified for the finals of women’s 400m as a fastest runner (52.94 secs) in the heats, whereas Incheon Asiad bronze medallist Arokya Rajeev made it as fastest loser (46.55s) in the heats in men’s 400m race. Long jumpers Ankit Sharma (7.56m) and Kumaravel Prem Kumar (7.51m), as well as sprinter Srabani Nanda (11.61 secs in women’s 100m) also qualified for the finals.
Scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi has been conferred with the Asian Athletics Association President’s award for his contribution towards the development of athletics in the continent. Kalmadi served as president of AAA for 13 years from 2000 to 2013 and was also credited with the introduction of top events.