Chinese soar as Indians toil

Chinese soar as Indians toil

Red Dragons pocket four more gold medals to tighten their grip on top spot

A golden day for China and one of fruitless toil for India. That was the theme of the penultimate day of the 20th Asian Athletics Championships on Saturday.

Four shining gold medals from the available seven strengthened China’s top spot on the medals table. In stark contrast was the Indian show, with no athlete coming even close to a bronze medal at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.

Poor scheduling meant that barring the two sprint relays, there wasn’t even a single final on the track. It made for dull viewing but the Chinese weren’t complaining as their dominance has been more pronounced in the field events.

Li Ling in women’s pole vault and Li Lingwei in women’s javelin throw stood out in the Chinese show with new championship records. Li, silver winner last time sailed past the bar at 4.54 metres to improve compatriot Gao Shuying’s record by a centimetre in pole vault.

Li stuttered at the start, fouling her first attempt at 4.10 but cleared it on the second attempt. She re-entered the fray at 4.30 and cleared 4.40 also with ease.

After sailing over 4.50 in the second attempt, she raised the bar to the meet record of 4.54 and soared over with ease. Li  could have gone higher but after a quick glance at her coach, she decided to close shop.

India’s Khyathi Vakharia and V S Surekha occupied the eighth and ninth spots, with 3.90 and 3.80 against their names.

Lingwei, who held the Asian record in javelin at 65.11 before it was surpassed by compatriot Lu Huihui in April, hurled the spear to 60.65 metres. It erased the mark of 58.35 belonging to Buoban Phamang of Thailand since 2007.

Sri Lanka, who had won the silver in men’s javelin on Friday, claimed another silver through Nadeeka Lakmali, who also went past the old mark, with a throw of 60.16.

Another silver medallist from Kobe, shot putter Liu Xiongrong was a cut above the rest in shot put. The big lady crushed the contest with a series of 18M tosses, with her best of 18.67 coming in the sixth round. Iran’s Leyla Rajabi, who was third in Kobe, moved up a notch with an 18.18M effort for the silver.

Dilshod Nazarov of Tajikistan and Ali Mohamed Al-Zinkawi of Kuwait renewed their rivalry in men’s hammer throw and this time, it was Nazarov’s turn to steal the spotlight, thwarting Al-Zinkawi’s bid for a fifth gold medal in the event.

Defending champion Al-Zinkawi had also won in 2003, 2005 and 2007 besides taking the silver in 2009. But Nazarov, champion in 2009 and silver-winner in 2005 and 2007, was the favourite here and he justified it with a throw of 78.32 metres.

The Kuwaiti couldn’t come close, his 74.70 earning him the silver medal.

Thailand’s Winatho Wassana retained her title in heptathlon. Remaining consistent right through the two days of competition, Wassana tallied 5818 points for the gold. India’s Sushmita Singha Roy, who was in second position after the first day, slipped badly on day two to end up fifth.

China and Japan were expected to fight out the relays but Hong Kong crashed into the party, sneaking in to claim the men’s 4x100 gold in 38.94 seconds. It was Hong Kong’s first ever gold in this event.

China thwarted Japanese designs in the women’s 4x100 relay, with 100M champion Wei Yongli anchoring her team to gold in 44.01 seconds, to Japan’s 44.38. India, with S Sini, Merlin Joseph, Srabani Nanda and Asha Roy doing duty, were fourth in 45.03 seconds.

Japan had won all the four relays in Kobe. At the end of day four, China have 12 gold, four silver and five bronze medals. Bahrain are in second place with four gold, four silver and one bronze.

Results: Men: Hammer throw: Dilshod Nazarov (Tajikistan) 78.32 metres, 1; Ali-Zinkawi (Kuwait) 74.70, 2; Qi Dakai (China) 74.70, 3.

4x100M relay: Hong Kong 38.94 seconds, 1; Japan 39.11, 2; China 39.17, 3.
Women: Pole vault: Li Ling (China) 4.54 metres (NMR. Old: 4.53, Gao Shuying, 2005), 1; Ren Mingqian (China) 4.40, 2; Sukanya Chomchuende (Thailand) 4.15, 3.

Shot put: Liu Xiangrong (China) 18.67 metres, 1; Leyla Rajabi (Iran) 18.18, 2; Gao Yang (China) 17.76, 3.

Javelin throw: Li Lingwei (China) 60.65 metres, 1 (NMR. Old: 58.35, Buoban Phamang, 2007), 1; Nadeeka Lakmali (Sri Lanka) 60.16, 2; Risa Miyashita (Japan) 55.30, 3.

Heptathlon: Wassana Winatho (Thailand) 5818 points, 1; Yekaterina Voronina (Uzbekistan) 5599, 2; Chie Kiriyama (Japan) 5451, 3. 

4x100M relay: China 44.01 seconds, 1; Japan 44.38, 2; Thailand 44.44, 3.

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