Sudha fails to live up to expectations

Prem Kumar bags silver in long jump

Sudha fails to live up to expectations

Ruth is her name and quite ruthless was her performance on the track on Friday. Ruth Jebet, on paper at least, was expected to play second fiddle to India’s Sudha Singh but as it turned out, the Bahrain teenager showed she was made of sterner stuff.

Turning in a brilliant front-running performance, the 17-year-old dashed Sudha’s dreams in the women’s 3000M steeplechase on the third day of the 20th Asian Athletics Championships at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, leaving the hosts without a gold on the day.

Sudha was expected to provide that golden touch to India’s night, after the hosts had pocketed a silver and two bronze medals earlier in the evening. Kumarvel Prem Kumar in men’s long jump won the silver while Samarjit Singh in men’s javelin and J Hemasree in 100M hurdles claimed bronze medals to lay the perfect stage for Sudha.

The 27-year-old from Uttar Pradesh, however, was hardly prepared for the kind of race that Jebet delivered, as she won the gold in a meet record of 9:40.84. Sudha, with a best of 9:45.60, had looked at Jebet’s previous best of  9:52.47 and assumed that she would be able to take the Bahraini in her stride.

But youth and the fearlessness that accompanies it are deadly weapons and Jebet possessed both. She hit the front early, opened up a big lead and killed off the Indian’s challenge, eventually winning by almost 80 metres. Sudha trudged in second, timing 9:56.27.

“I had warmed up well but the race started 25 minutes late and that made my body stiff,” rued Sudha, refusing to acknowledge Jebet’s superiority. “I was looking at 9:43 and I am disappointed at the time,” added the Asian Games champion, after her third straight silver in the Asian meet.

Prem Kumar, who had touched 8.00 metres at the Chennai Inter-State meet last month, leapt to 7.92 metres to finish just three centimetres behind China’s Wang Jianan. Prem Kumar had slipped to third position by the final round but he rose to the occasion to pip another Chinese Tang Gongchen (7.89) to bronze position.

“I am happy to have a silver but deep down, it pains that I could not achieve my best today,” said the Tamil Nadu athlete, who was looking at the World Championship ‘B’ standard of 8.10 metres. “There was a headwind towards the end of the event and that forced me to adjust my run up. Otherwise I could have done better,” he said.

Samarjeet Singh hurled the javelin to a personal best of 75.03 metres for the bronze behind Ivan Zaysev of Uzbekistan (79.76) and Sachith Madhuranga of Sri Lanka (79.62). A shot-putter till 2004, Samarjeet, who is being trained by Kashinath Naik, felt he could have done better but for a clutch of fouls.

Hemasree was lucky to win a bronze in the 100M hurdles. Japan’s Ayako Kimura took the gold and Anastassiya Soprunov of Kazakhstan claimed the silver but behind them, Japan’s Hitomi Shimura and Anastassiya Pilipenk of Kazakhstan were disqualified for false start. Both had run the race under protest to finish third and fourth. Hemasree was thus elevated to the bronze position in a leisurely 14.01 seconds.

In other events, India’s Siddanth Thingalaya missed the bronze in 110M hurdles by one-hundredths of a second while Sini A Markose, after a brave front-running attempt, also ended fourth in women’s 1500M. India had disappointment in store in the men’s 4x100M relay when a botched baton exchange between the third-leg runner Shameer Mon and anchor Manikanda Raj ended their race in the semifinals.

Results: Men: 1500M: Emad Hamed Nour (Saudi Arabia) 3:39.51, 1; Mohamad Al Garni (Qatar) 3:40.75, 2; Bilal Mansour Ali (Bahrain) 3:40.96, 3.
110M hurdles: Jiang Fan (China) 13.61 seconds, 1; Abdulaziz Almandeel (Kuwait) 13.78, 2; Wataru Yazawa (Japan) 13.88, 3.
3000M steeplechase: Tarek Mubarak Taher (Bahrain) 8:34.77, 1; Dejene Regassa Mootoma (Bahrain) 8:37.40, 2; Tsuyoshi Takeda (Japan) 8:48.48, 3.
Long jump: Wang Jianan (China) 7.95 metres, 1; Prem Kumar K (India) 7.92, 2; Tang Gongchen (China) 7.89, 3.
Javelin throw: Ivan Zaysev (Uzbekistan) 79.76 metres, 1; Sachith Madhuranga (Sri Lanka) 79.62, 2; Samarjit Singh (India) 75.03, 3.
Women: 1500M: Betlhem Belayneh (UAE) 4:13.67, 1; Mimi Belete (Bahrain) 4:14.04, 2; Ayako Jinnouchi (Japan) 4:16.73, 3.
100M hurdles: Ayako Kimura (Japan) 13.25 seconds, 1; Anastassiya Soprunov (Kazakhstan) 13.44, 2; Hemasree J (India) 14.01, 3.
3000M steeplechase: Ruth Jebet (Bahrain) 9:40.84 (NMR. Old: 9:52.42, Minori Hayakari, 2011) 1; Sudha Singh (India) 9:56.27, 2; Park Kum Hyang (North Korea) 10:09.80, 3.
Triple jump: Anastasiya Juravleva (Uzbekistan) 14.18 metres, 1; Aleksandra Kolyarova (Uzbekistan) 13.89, 2; Irina Ektova (Kazakhstan) 13.75, 3.
Hammer throw: Wang Zheng (China) 72.78 metres (NMR. Old: 71.07, Zhang Wenxiu, 2009), 1; Liu Tingting (China) 67.16, 2; Aya Masumi (Japan) 63.41, 3.

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