'Nice to compete with the best'

'Nice to compete with the best'

'Nice to compete with the best'

Battling hard to find his range and rhythm, India’s Vikas Gowda finished eighth in the men’s discus final at the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday night.

Vikas had a best of 64.79 metres in the final and that came in the first round itself. After that, it was quite a struggle as he tried to catch up with the leaders in the subsequent rounds. Still, after making his first Olympic final in three attempts, the 29-year-old had the satisfaction of gaining his best placing at the Games.

“I am not disappointed. I have been making steady progress in the last few years -- from the Commonwealth Games to the Asian Games and from there to the World Championships,” said Vikas, who was seventh in the World Championships in Daegu last year. “It was nice to compete with the best in the world but it would have been better had I finished a couple of notches higher.”

Vikas had qualified for the final with a best of 65.20 but couldn’t match that effort on Tuesday. “I had a good opening throw but others had 67-68 metres in the first round itself, and I was pushing hard to catch up, perhaps I was pushing too hard.
But I am satisfied with what I did,” he said. After that 64.79 in the first round, Vikas had a series of 60.95, 63.03, 64.15, 64.48 and 63.89.

The 29-year-old said he wasn’t nervous at all when he entered the arena on his big night. “I wasn’t nervous. I was focused on getting my technique right,” he said. “I am confident that I can continue to do better. I have been working with John Godina only for the last two and a half years and I have made good progress,” said Vikas, who now plans to compete in a couple of Diamond League meetings before winding up his season.  “I will take a break after that and then plan for the future,” he said.

Meanwhile, Robert Harting of Germany won the gold, edging Iran’s Ehsan Hadadi to the second spot with a hurl of 68.27 in the fifth round. Unbeaten for the last two years, Harting was delighted with his effort as he celebrated wildly, tearing his vest off and jumping over the hurdles kept on the sidelines.

“It is a wonderful moment. It was worth all these years of fight and struggle. Because of my injuries I have changed a lot the last three years,” said the German.
Hadadi had wrested the lead in the first round itself with a 68.18 but the Asian champion could not do better in the subsequent rounds and had to settle for silver – Iran’s first-ever medal in Olympic Games athletics. Defending champion Gerd Kanter of Estonia took the bronze with his season’s best throw of 68.03 metres.