Asiad: Manjit wins gold in 800m, Jinson 2nd

Manjit Singh upstaged pre-race favourite compatriot Jinson Johnson to win gold in men's 800m in a 1-2 finish for India in the event. Reuters Photo

Manjit Singh enacted a stunning coup at the Asian Games on Tuesday. India expected a gold medal in the 800 metres but Jinson Johnson was the man primed to deliver it. Instead, it was the tall and strong Manjit who surged to the forefront, leading a surprise Indian one-two.

On the fourth day of athletics, Manjit’s triumph broke a long Indian drought in the event.

The legendary Sriram Singh (1974 and 78) and Charles Borromeo (1982) had strung a hat-trick of Indian victories but since then, gold had dried up for the country in this event.

The rare success, India’s third gold in athletics and ninth overall, was followed by a silver in the mixed relay, with the quartet of Mohammed Anas, M R Poovamma, Hima Das and Arokia Rajiv coming behind Bahrain in the event on its Asiad debut.

Johnson, the man who broke Sriram Singh’s 42-year-old national record this year, was looking to end that lean spell but he was not prepared for the surge in the straight from the 29-year-old Manjit. With a personal best of 1:46.15, Manjit nailed the gold while Johnson’s desperate lunge fetched him the silver in 1:46.35.

It was the first time since 1951 that an Indian one-two was witnessed in this event. Ranjit Singh and Kulwant Singh had won the gold and silver then. A repeat of that show seemed unlikely on this day with Manjit placed fourth coming into the straight. Johnson had placed himself behind Qatar’s Abdalla Abubaker and Abraham Rotich of Bahrain, poised to make his move.

As Johnson seemed to be struggling Manjeet timed his move to perfection, striding past the leading trio to the finish line and celebrating with his arms spread wide. Johnson just about managed to sneak in for the silver while Abubaker claimed the bronze.

“I knew I could do it, coming to the straight, I had enough energy for the charge,” said Manjit, a farmer’s son from Haryana. The 29-year-old had been in the shadow of Johnson in recent times but he chose the right moment to steal the limelight.

Bahrain, featuring  400M champion Salwa Naser and 400M hurdles winner Kemi Adakoya, were too good in the mixed relay. Anas gave India a good lead but Adekoya  outgunned Poovamma and Naser outclassed Hima Das to give Bahrain the winning edge. Abbas then applied the finishing touches to produce a world lead of 3:11.89. India’s 3:15.71 was good enough for silver.

After four events of heptathlon, India’s Swapna Barman was in second place with 3481 points, behind China’s Wang Qingling (3513). Poornima Hembram is placed third with 3424 points.

Elsewhere, Dutee Chand timed a personal best of 23.00 seconds to enter the 200M final. Hima, the other Indian entry, had made a tactical false start in the other semifinal to conserve her energy for the relay. Also of note was Annu Rani’s poor show in javelin. A last minute entrant, Annu managed only 53.93 metres to end sixth.

Results: Men: 800M: Manjit Singh (India) 1:46.15, 1; Jinson Johnson (India) 1:46.35, 2; Abdalla Abubaker (Qatar) 1:46.38, 3.

110M hurdles: Xie Wenjun (China) 13.34 seconds, 1; Chen Kueiru (Chinese Taipei) 13.39, 2; Shunya Takayama (Japan) 13.48, 3.

Women: 800M: Wang Chunyu (China) 2:01.80, 1; Margarita Mukasheva (Kazakhstan) 2:02.40, 2; Manai Elbahraoui (Bahrain) 2:02.69, 3.

5000M: Kalkidan Befkadu (Bahrain) 15:08.08, 1; Daria Maslova (Kyrgyzstan) 15:30.57, 2; Bontu Rebitu (Bahrain) 15:36.78, 3. Suriya Loganathan (India) 15:49.30, 5. Sanjivani Jadhav (India) 15:52.96, 7.

Pole vault: Li Ling (China) 4.60 (Games record) 1; Chayanisa Chomchuendee (Thailand) 4.30, 2; Lim Eunji (Korea) 4.20, 3.

Javelin throw: Liu Shiying (China) 66.09 metres, 1; Lyu Huihui (China) 63.16, 2; Kim Gyeong Ae (Korea) 56.74, 3. Annu Rani (India) 53.93, 6.

Mixed relay: Bahrain (Ali Khamis, Kemi Adekoya, Salwa Naser, Abbas) 3:11.89, 1; India (Mohd Anas, M R Poovamma, Hima Das, Arokia Rajiv) 3:15.71, 2; Kazakhstan 3:19.52, 3.

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Asiad: Manjit wins gold in 800m, Jinson 2nd

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