Decathlete Bharat Inder Singh, discus thrower Harwant Kaur and metric miler O.P. Jaisha added three bronze medals to India's collection on the second day of the 19th Asian athletics championships here on Friday.
Bharat Inder, who was lying second almost throughout the two-day decathlon competition, had to finally settle for the bronze. Going into the final event, the 1500 metres, the Indian was 266 points ahead of Japanese Akihiko Nakamura and just 13 points behind leader and eventual winner Iranian Hadi Sepehrzad.
Everyone knew, however, that the Indian record holder was a poor 1500 runner. The question was, whether Nakamura would be able to overhaul Bharat Inder for the silver. The Japanese did, with a time of 4:18.84 that gave him 820 points.
Bharat Inder, in comparison, finished in 5:23.04 and that was good enough for just 434 points. The eventual tally: Sepehrzad 7506, Nakamura 7478 and Bharat Inder 7358.
“I strained my hamstring in the hurdles this morning,” said Bharat Inder, who had set a National record of 7658 at Bangalore last month. “I couldn't do my best in all events after that.” He had injured his hamstring at the end of the first day in the Asian Games in Guangzhou last year to go out in pain.
Harwant's bronze in discus was on expected lines since it was always on the cards that the two Chinese, though the top woman from that country (Li Yanfeng) was missing, would finish one and two and an Indian would take the third place.
Harwant had a better record this season (58.78) compared to Krishna Poonia (55.45), who had a late start owing to injury. Chinese Sun Taifeng (60.89) and Ma Xuejun (59.67) took the top two spots, with ease.
Harwant had a best of 57.99 in the second round while Poonia bettered her season best by reaching 56.23 in the final round.
“My knee still gives me trouble,” said Poonia, the Asian Games bronze medallist last year and the gold winner in the Commonwealth Games, as she sat down with an icepack to tend to her left knee.
Jaisha's bronze in the 1500 metres was a bonus, though the Indian camp was expecting something from her. Bahrain's Genzeb Shumi Regasa was far too superior for the field as she pulled away on the final back straight to clock 4:15.91. Vietnamese Truong, always a tough customer, came behind her while Jaisha, despite decelerating fast on the straight, held off the rest of the threats with a 4:21.41 finish.
The second Indian in the fray, Jhuma Khatun, who threatened to catch up with Jaisha, was disqualified for running inside the kerb.
Joseph Abraham (50.94s) and Satinder Singh (50.95s) qualified for the final of the 400m hurdles, both finishing third in their heats.
In heptathlon, Susmita Singha Roy was lying second with 3232 points behind Thai Wassana Winatho (3496) on the first day.
Su Bingtian of China (10.21) and Guzel Khubbieva of Uzbekistan (11.39) were crowned the sprint champions. The Chinese won a controversial 100m dash after Japanese Masashi Eriguchi was first disqualified and then reinstated. Eriguchi finished second, in 10.28, leaving Japan yet again without the gold. No Japanese male has ever won the 100 title in these championships.
Men: 100m: 1. Su Bingtian (Chn) 10.21, 2. Masashi Eriguchi (Jpn) 10.28, 3. Sota Kawatsura (Jpn) 10.30; 400m: Yusuf Ahmed Masrahi (KSA) 45.79, 2. Hideyuki Hirose (Jpn) 46.03, 3. Yuzo Kanneamru (Jpn) 46.38; 1500m: 1. Mohammad Al-Azemi (Kuw) 3:42.49, 2. Sajad Moradi (Iri) 3:43.40, 3. Chaminda Indika Wijekoon (Sri) 3:44.01; 3000m steeplechase: 1. Abubaker Ali Kamal (Qat) 8:30.23, 2. Artem Kossinov (Kaz) 8:35.11, 3. Tarek Mubarak Taher (Brn) 8:45.47; 4. Ramdas Ramachandran (Ind) 8:46.08; Pole vault: 1. Daichi Sawano (Jpn) 5.50, 2. Hiroki Ogita (Jpn) 5.40, 3. Yang Yansheng (Chn) 5.40; Triple jump: 1. Evgeniy Ektov (Kaz) 16.91, 2. Li Yanxi (Chn) 16.70, 3. Roman Valiyev (Kaz) 16.62; Decathlon: 1. Hadi Sepehrzad (Iri) 7506, 2. Akhiko Nakamura (Jpn) 7478, 3. Bharat Inder Singh (Ind) 7358.
Women: 100m: 1. Guzel Khubbieva (Uzb) 11.39, 2. Wei Yongli (Chn) 11.70, 3. Tao Yujia (Chn) 11.74; 400m: 1. Olga Tereshkova (Kaz) 52.37, 2. Ieso Gulustan (Irq) 52.80, 3. Chen Jingwen (Chn) 52.89; 1500m: 1. Genzeb Shumi Regasa (Brn) 4:15.91, 2. Truong Thanh Hang (Vie) 4:18.40, 3. O.P. Jaisha (Ind) 4:21.41; Jhuma Khatun (Ind) DQ; Discus: 1. Sun Taifeng (Chn) 60.89, 2. Ma Xuejun (Chn) 59.67, 3. Harwant Kaur (Ind) 57.99; 4. Krishna Poonia (Ind) 56.23.
Keywords: 19th Asian athletics championship