Vikas Gowda clinches gold for India

Years of sweat and toil finally paid dividends for Vikas Gowda as he won India’s first gold medal at the 20th Asian Athletics Championships here on Thursday.

The Mysore-born Vikas won the men’s discus throw with an effort of 64.90 metres. It was his first gold for India and it was also the first individual gold for a Karnataka athlete in the Asian Championships.

Vikas towered above the rest of the field, leaving Iran’s Mohammad Samimi and Ahmed Mohammed Dheeb of Qatar in silver and bronze positions.

The day also saw two more Indian success stories, with M R Poovamma, another Karnataka athlete, claiming silver in the women’s 400 metres and Ratiram Saini picking up the bronze in the men’s 10000M.

“It is a great feeling. It has been a long journey and it feels nice to have finally succeeded,” said Vikas, who will turn 30 on Friday.

“It’s nice to celebrate a birthday like this. If I had not won today, it wouldn’t have tasted this good,” added the US-based Indian, who had won two silver medals, in 2005 and 2011 in previous Asian Championships.

“It is a proud moment,” an elated Shive Gowda, Vikas’s father, told Deccan Herald from the United States. “He has worked hard, made a lot of sacrifices. He almost did not make it as the Athletics Federation of India did not send a ticket for him on time. It was touch and go. But I am happy he finally won the gold and that too on Indian soil,” said Shive.

Vikas has already qualified for next month’s World Championships in Moscow but today’s performance confirms his place. All the continental champions get automatic berths at the World’s and are considered to have met the “A” standard, the stiffest qualification norm for the championships.

Poovamma, unbeaten this season, finally met her match in China’s Zhao Yanmin, who won the gold in 52.49 seconds. The Mangalore girl clocked 53.37 for the silver.

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