Two silvers in two hours. India had its best day in the Commonwealth Games athletics at the Nehru Stadium here on Sunday evening. Men's discus thrower Vikas Gowda and women's long jumper M.A. Prajusha brought silvers for the country on a historic day.
Never before has the country won more than two medals in a single edition and this time we have four already and looking good for more.
Vikas Gowda, the Mysore-born athlete who trains in the US, came up with the best series of his life when he threw the saucer over 63 metres thrice.
His silver-winning throw, a season-best 63.69m came in the second round. It was the country's first medal in men's discus in the Games history.
“I was in good form, I expected a 65-metre throw today,” said Gowda, the 27-year-old national-record holder with 64.96m.
“This is a very satisfying day after my 2009 injury. There are bigger things coming, at the next Worlds (in South Korea next year).”
His series read 62.84, 63.69, 61.83, 63.26, 63.24 and a foul.
But he was disappointed that his dad Shive Gowda, who had coached him for the last ten years, had to buy a ticket to watch him.
“I spoke to all the officials to get him a coach's pass so that he could be in the coaches' area but I couldn't get it for him. He is somewhere up there.”
Meanwhile, Prajusha had the long jump gold till the end of the fifth round. She led the field, which included Canada's Tabia Charles and Trinidad's Rhonda Watkins both with a personal best of 6.82m, at that point with her day's best 6.47m.
But Canada's Alice Faliya grabbed the gold with a last-round effort of 6.50 and then jumped in glee. Her teammate Tabia Charles took the bronze.
“When I started today, I was praying for at least a bronze,” said the 23-year-old Kerala-born Prajusha, a junior clerk at Bangalore's South Western Railway who is coached by SAI coach M.A. George.
“The others are all very talented, we are nothing…so I'm very happy that I've got the silver. I'm not at all disappointed that I missed the gold.”
Prajusha, who had a best of 6.55m this season, opened with 6.29 and then improved with the next three jumps, moving to 6.31, 6.43 and 6.47 before messing up her next effort. She had a weak 6.26 in the last round.
Meanwhile Mayookha Johny, who has making headlines at almost every championship in the last few months struggled with an ankle problem and finished sixth with a best of 6.30m while Resmi Bose, who also had the same distance, was seventh.
There should be some good news too from the track on Monday. Tintu Luka progressed to the final, winning her 800m heats in 2:02.73 secs.
“I'm very happy with Tintu's run…this is what we had planned, to win the race today,” said P.T. Usha, her coach.
Sahana Kumar was fourth in women's high jump with a season-best 1.83m while Kavya Muthanna was 13th and last with 1.68m.
Elsewhere, National champion Gayathry Govindaraj qualified for the women's 100m final after finishing third in her heats with 13.83s while M.M. Anch was sixth in the other group and failed to make the grade.
Australian Sally Pearson, the Olympics silver medallist who was disqualified for a false start after finishing first in the 100m, was the fastest of the qualifiers.
H.M. Jyothi failed to qualify for the women's 200m final after finishing sixth in her semifinal while Satti Geetha was disqualified for a false start in her group. Abdul Najeeb Qureshi was disqualified in the men's 200 first round on Saturday.
In both cases, it looked as though they were wary of returning a poor placing or were told to preserve themselves for the relay, a strategy the Indians have adopted in all major championships in the past.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games