Mayookha ends up ninth

Walkers disappoint as Indian challenge begins to fade quickly

The Indian, unable to recover from her efforts in the qualifying round on Saturday, could only manage a best of 6.37 metres, a far cry from her best of 6.64.

American Brittney Reese, who squeaked in to the final on her last jump in the qualifying round, won the gold despite fouling five of her six attempts. Reese’s first jump – her only legal jump of the day -- measured 6.82 metres as she became only the second woman after Jackie Joyner-Kersee to win back-to-back long jump gold medals.

Joyner-Kersee had topped the field in 1987 and 1991, when the competition was held in four-year cycles.

Mayookha started with that 6.37 and jumped 6.31 before rounding off her series with a 6.26. With only the top eight making it for the final three jumps, the Asian champion’s campaign ended in disappointing fashion.

“After the qualifying yesterday, she was called for a dope test and it was past two when we reached the athletes’ village,” said Mayookha’s coach Syam Kumar. “We were looking for a personal best as well as an Olympic qualification but she just couldn’t recover in such a short period.”

Mayookha will now be competing in the triple jump, with qualifying scheduled for Tuesday. “She will compete, we are just looking at gaining some experience there,” said Syam.

The 25-year-old Reese had marked herself down as the favourite after her 7.19M leap at Eugene in June. But after her first jump, she lapsed into fouls and had to look on nervously as other competitors tried to close the gap. Luckily, it didn’t happen, and the American topped with the poorest winning jump in World Championship history.

Behind Reese, Olga Kuch-arenko of Russia snatched silver with a 6.77-metre leap while Ineta Radevica came up with her season’s best of 6.76 in the nick of time to claim bronze, with just six centimetres separating the top three.

Olympic champion Maurren Higa Maggi of Brazil managed only 6.17, while American contender Funmi Jimoh fouled all her jumps to leave the pit in tears.

Walkers falter

India’s entries in the men’s 20Km walk, Gurmeet Singh and Babubhai Panucha, ended up in 30th and 31st positions respectively. Gurmeet, the national record holder at 1:20:35, had clocked 1:22:05 in Dublin to earn a ticket to Daegu. On the day, he clocked 1:26:34 while Panucha came home in 1:26:53.

Russia’s Valery Borchin, the champion in 2009 as well as the Olympic champion, retained his gold in 1:19:56. Another Russian, Vladimir Kanaykin, was second in 1:20:27.

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