Gowda lands gold for India

Mysore-born athlete wins discus title; Poovamma clinches silver in 400M

Gowda lands gold for India

As the strains of the National anthem wafted through the air, Vikas Gowda stood steady and tall on the victory podium. It wasn’t hard to guess the feelings rushing through his mind on a warm Thursday night.

It might have taken years but finally, the strapping Mysore-born athlete had won a gold medal for India. Vikas, turning 30 on Friday, celebrated it a day early with a superb performance in discus throw, topping the field with a 64.90M effort on the second day of the 20th Asian Athletics Championships at the Shiv Chhatrapathi Sports Complex.

“All the hard work I put in over the last 10-15 years came to my mind as the national anthem came on,” said Vikas, who was rushed through the ceremonies as he had to take an early morning flight from Mumbai to Paris for the Diamond League on Saturday.

Vikas’ gold was India’s second medal of the day after M R  Poovamma’s silver in the women’s 400M, the favourite faltering in a badly judged race. Later in the night, Ratiram Saini added another bronze to the Indian kitty, finishing third in the men’s 10000M.

Vikas, who had won two silver medals in four previous Asian Championships appearances, had to fight hard for the gold. In the absence of Iran’s four-time champion Ehsan Hadadi, the Indian was the favourite but he started slowly, touching 58.64 in the first round and fouling his second. A 61.81 in the third round took him to the top but Iran’s Mohammad Samimi soon seized the top spot with a 61.93.

Vikas then found his groove with a big heave. And as the scoreboard flashed 64.90, he raised his hands to acknowledge the cheering crowd and slapped his thigh. Gold was assured then and there as the distance was beyond the reach of Samimi and the third-placed Ahmed Mohammed Dheeb of Qatar. Vikas closed out the competition with throws of 62.40 and 63.26.

Poovamma seemed to have slowed down after the first 200 metres and that nailed her chances. She was fourth coming into the straight and only a gutsy charge allowed the 23-year-old to move into the medal zone. China’s Zhao Yanmin blazed away to the gold in 52.49 seconds while Poovamma (53.37) managed to edge out Lebanon’s Taslakian Gretta (53.43) at the finish.

“I am happy that I have my first Asian Championship medal but a bit sad that I couldn’t win the gold,” she said, acknowledging that she had misjudged the pace. It was her first defeat this season, having run a best of 52.75 at the Federation Cup in April.

Ratiram Saini picked up India’s third medal of the day in the men’s 10000M. In a thin field, Saini finished behind Alemu Bekele Gebre of Bahrain and Bilisuma Shugi Gelas, clocking 29:35.42.

Chinese athletes sprinted away with the 100M gold medals in men’s and women’s sections. Su Bingtian retained the men’s title in 10.17 seconds, ending the aspirations of Qatar’s Samuel Francies (10.27).

Wei Yongli outclassed the field in the women’s short dash. She clocked 11.29 seconds, finishing well ahead of Japan’s Asian Games champion Chisato Fukushima  (11.53).

Results: Men: 100M: Su Bingtian (China) 10.17 seconds, 1; Samuel Francis (Qatar) 10.27, 2; Barakt Al Harthi (Oman) 10.30, 3.
400M: Yousef Ahmed Masrahi (Saudi Arabia) 45.08 seconds, 1; Ali Khamis (Bahrain) 45.65, 2; Yuzo Kanemaru (Japan) 45.95, 3.
10000M: Alemu Bekele Gebre (Bahrain) 28:47.26, 1; Bilisuma Shugi Gelas (Bahrain) 28:58.67, 2; Ratiram Saini (India) 29:35.42, 3; Kheta Ram (India) 29:35.72, 4; Lakshmanan G (India) 30:46.45, 5.
Discus throw: Vikas Gowda (India) 64.90 metres, 1; Mohammad Samimi (Iran) 61.93, 2; Ahmed Mohammed Dheeb (Qatar) 60.82, 3. Arjun (India) 52.90, 11; Vikas Poonia (India) 51.30, 12. Decathlon: Dmitriy Karpov (Kazakhstan) 8037 points, 1; Akihito Nakamura (Japan) 7620, 2; Leonid Andreyev (Uzbekistan) 7383, 3; Daya Ram (India) 6544, 5; Dileep Kumar (India) 6433, 6.
Women: 100M: Wei Yongli (China) 11.29 seconds, 1; Chisato Fukushima (Japan) 11.53, 2; Tao Yujia (China) 11.63, 3.
400M: Zhao Yanmin (China) 52.49 seconds, 1; M R Poovamma (India) 53.37, 2; Taslakian Gretta (Lebanon) 53.43, 3; Anu Mariam Jose (India) 53.49, 4; Nirmala (India) 55.40, 7.
High jump: Nadia Dusanova (Uzbekistan) 1.90 metres, 1; Svetlana Radzivil (Uzbekistan) 1.88, 2; Marina Aitova (Kazakhstan) 1.88, 3. Sahana Kumari (India) 1.86, 4.

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