Om Prakash provided the silver-lining

Athletics

Om Prakash provided the silver-lining

Om Prakash SinghThe athletes, coaches and officials keep stressing on the fact that the Delhi Games is their real target. If one believes that, the build-up has been anything but inspiring.

Om Prakash Singh's gold in shot put at Guangzhou, then, was a face-saving act. The strapping lad from Gurgaon who switched over from basketball to focus on an individual sport, reaped dividends for that decision, clinching the gold with a 19.87M effort.

Om Prakash had struggled to find his feet in his first big meet, the Doha Super Grand Prix, earlier in the season. But his determination came to the fore in the Chennai inter-state meet a couple of weeks before the Asian meet when he crossed 20 metres for the first time, hurling the iron ball to 20.02 metres.

The ONGC athlete had expressed a desire to protect India's record in shot put at the Asian level then, and he lived up to his word with an excellent performance.
For sheer consistency, Joseph Abraham was the man of the season, going unbeaten at the national level and picking up a silver in Guangzhou. But he was disqualified for a rule infringement at the World Championships in Berlin, and that was a bitter disappointment for the 28-year-old Railwayman.

The Berlin meet showed where India stood at the world level. Only Babu Bhai Panocha enhanced his reputation with a national record of 1:23:06 while finishing 20th in the 20km walk. The Services walker's effort was the first of only two national records to fall in the year, with the other being Sudha Singh's 10:10.51 while claiming the silver at the Asian meet.

The year finished on a grim note too for the country with four leading athletes testing positive in tests conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency. While they await their sanctions, India can only hope and pray for better tidings in the new season.

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