The anticipated gold rush on the final day of track and field action did not come about for India in the Asian Games on Friday.

The women's 4x400 metres relay team brought home the last gold for the country from the Guangdong Olympic Stadium while Preeja Sreedharan and Kavita Raut added a silver and a bronze each to the collection.

There were disappointments in triple jumper Renjith Maheswary and shot putter Om Prakash not getting among the medals. They were gold medal contenders who failed to rise to the occasion.

The marathons would be held on Saturday, the closing day of the Games.

Amidst the euphoria of getting its best tally, since the Busan Asian Games, of five gold, two silver and four bronze medals, India should not forget that a large number of athletes in a squad of 69 failed to come up to expectations.

In Doha India had nine medals including one gold, while in Busan in 2002, the country had 16 medals including seven gold.

Doubts

There could have been doubts about India's capacity to win its third straight gold medal in the women's 4x400m relay when Manjeet Kaur and Mandeep Kaur failed to get an individual medal in the 400 metres.

Mandeep said on Friday, after she confidently took the team home despite a spirited challenge from 400m champion Olga Tereshkova, running the anchor for Kazakhstan, that she had suffered a chest infection after the Commonwealth Games and had missed training. Manjeet also was indisposed, according to coaches.

The quartet of Manjeet, Sini Jose, A.C. Ashwini and Mandeep clocked 3:29.02, not one of the better timings by Indian teams in recent years but good enough for the gold.

Kazakhstan (3:30.03) and China (3:30.89) took the lesser medals.

Ashwini, whose second gold it was in these Games, said the Commonwealth Games final was a little tougher than this one though, with the home crowd backing, it was an enjoyable experience in Delhi.

The Kazakhs could have given a harder time here had not Tereshkova run almost the entire final 200 metres on the outside, hoping to go wide of Mandeep in order to overtake her rival.

Mandeep had to really struggle in the end, but she managed to put in her best on the straight.

Preeja Sreedharan tried to chase down Bahrain's Mimi Belete through the finishing straight but found the former Ethiopian too strong a sprinter in the 5000 metres.

The Indians having cornered gold and silver on the opening day in the 10,000 metres there were hopes that there could be a repeat.

Preeja and Kavita Raut kept close to the leading bunch of Japanese and Bahraini runners till the final 250 metres when Kavita tried to break free.

Quick response

Belete responded quickly. From 200 metres to the finish, she started pulling away with Kavita and Preeja in pursuit.

Preeja dashed past Kavita on the straight but despite a Herculean effort she could not catch up with a woman who has clocked a PB of 4:00.25 for the 1500 metres only this season. Belete had a PB for this race also, 15:15.59.

Preeja and Kavita sliced around 30 seconds off their PBs by clocking 15:15.89 and 15:16.54 for the silver and bronze.

Preeja said she had responded quickly enough to the Bahrain athlete's move but her best effort was not sufficient to bridge the gap.

Renjith Maheswary led the field in the fourth round with a 16.76 after having done 16.09, 16.33 and 16.18 in triple jump.

Kazakh Evegeniy Ektov came up with a 16.86 in the fifth round to take the lead.

Chinese Li Yanxi, the Asian record-holder, answered with a 16.94 that turned out to be the gold-winning mark.

From lead to bronze, Renjith was further pushed down by the second Chinese, Cao Shuo, who had a 16.84 in the last round. Renjith's fifth and sixth jumps were 16.71 and 16.32.

He had touched 17.07 for a National record and the bronze in CWG and there was hope that he would strike again.

Let down

Om Prakash (fourth with 19.17) and Saurabh Vij (sixth, 18.98) were great disappointments in shot put which was won by continental record-holder Sultan Abdulmajeed Al-Habshi of Saudi Arabia at 20.57m, a season best, on his last attempt.

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