Lalita, Sudha may benefit as champ Chebet gets disqualified

Jury to announce verdict today, Poovamma, Kunhu, Arokia in final

Lalita, Sudha may benefit as champ Chebet gets disqualified

The track and field action at the Asian Games kicked off in controversial fashion with Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet getting disqualified while on the podium, leaving India’s Lalita Babar and Sudha Singh with a chance to claim silver and bronze respectively.

Moments after she shattered the 3000M steeplechase field in a Games record timing of 9:31.36 and went up to the podium to receive her medal, the public announcement system handed her the dreaded news that her medal has been withdrawn as she was found guilty of stepping outside the track.

Ruth was reduced to tears as the second-placed Li Zhenzhu rejoiced at what could be an automatic promotion to gold. Jebet’s disqualification means third-placed Lalita may get promoted to silver and fourth-placed Sudha Singh earning bronze, pending the result of an appeal by Bahrain.

“Moments after the race, both India and China protested saying she had stepped outside the track,” C K Valson, athletics’ technical delegate, said. “At the moment, we’ve suspended the results as Bahrain have appealed. The jury will study the case and deliver their verdict tomorrow. Nothing can be said at the moment,” added the Athletics Federation of India secretary-general.

Ruth had demolished all opposition, winning by a massive margin. China’s Li (9:35.23) came up with a late dash to leave the Indians behind but both Lalita (9:35.37) and Sudha (9:35.64) bettered the latter’s national record of 9:45.60 set last year.

Earlier, Preeja Sreedharan disappointed in the women’s 10,000M, finishing seventh in 32:29.17. Not in the best of form and also suffering from a bout of cold, she stayed in the pack until the halfway stage before tailing off when UAE’s Alia Mohammed Saeed started to drum up speed.

Soon Alia and the leadergroup of Ding Changqin, Hagiwara Ayumi and Sitora Khamidova broke free. 

Alia then sailed ahead towards the final 100 metres, crossing the line on 31:51.86 while China’s Ding (31:53.09) picked up silver ahead of Japan’s Hagiwara (31:55.67).

Qatar’s Al Garni Mohamad produced a smashing performance in the men’s 5000 metres, breaking Takaoka Toshinari’s 20-year-old Games record with a spectacular final burst. The Qatari, who stayed with the bunch and rarely threatened, suddenly sprang into life with around 200 metres left, exploding past a stunned pack.

Almost completing the race like a sprinter, Garni dashed down the final straight in a timing of 13:26.13, well ahead of Takaoka’s record of 13:38.37. Bahrain’s Alemu Bekele Gebre won silver with a timing of 13:27.98 while Albert Kibichii Rop took bronze in 13:28.08.

India’s Kheta Ram was seventh in a personal best of 13:37.40, the second all-time Indian best, while Suresh Kumar was ninth, also in a personal best of 13:42.28

Meanwhile, after two rounds of the men’s 400 metres, P Kunhu Muhammad and Arokia Rajiv moved into the final. Kunhu Muhammad clocked a personal best of 46.08 in his semifinal to move up as a fastest loser while Arokia finished third in his semifinal in 46.22.In the women’s 400 metres, M R Poovamma also entered the final, winning her heat in 52.17 seconds while Mandeep Kaur (53.06) made it through after finishing second in her heat. 

Sharadha Narayana exited in the first round of the women’s 100 metres clocking 12.04 seconds and coming fifth in her heat.



Results: Men: 5000M: Al Garni Mohamad (Qat) 13:26.13 (GR; Old: 13:38.37, Takaoka Toshinari, Jpn, Oct ’94) 1; Alemu Bekele Gebre (Brn) 13:27.98, 2; Albert Kibichii Rop (Brn) 13:28.08, 3. Hammer throw: Dilshod Nazarov (Tkj) 76.82 metres, 1; Wang Shizhu (Chn) 73.65, 2; Wan Yong (Chn) 73.43, 3. Chandrodaya Narayan Singh (Ind) 66.98, 8. Women: 10000M: Alia Mohammed Saeed (UAE) 31:51.86, 1; Ding Changqin (Chn) 31:53.09, 2; Hagiwara Ayumi (31:55.67) 3. Preeja Sreedharan (Ind) 32:29.17, 7. 3000M steeplechase: Results suspended.Shot put: Gong Lijiao (Chn) 19.06, 1; Leyla Rajabi (Iri) 17.80, 2; Guo Tianqian (Chn) 17.52, 3.

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