Dutee Chand lived up to the promise and delivered two gold medals to lift the Indian fortunes dramatically on the final day of the 16th Asian junior athletics championship in Taipei City on Sunday.
The 18-year-old Dutee, coached by N. Ramesh, won the women’s 200 metres with a time of 23.74 metres ahead of Shanti Veronica Pereira (23.99) of Singapore and Nigina Sharipoa (24.24) of Uzbekistan.
Later, Dutee anchored the 4 x 400 metres relay team to the gold with a time of 3 minutes 40.53 seconds. VV Jisha, Jessy Joseph, GK Vijaya Kumari were the other members of the relay squad. Thailand was second at 3:42.27 and Chinese Taipei third at 3:43.00.
Incidentally, Jessy had won the 800 metres silver on the third day, when she missed the gold by two hundredth of a second to Ryoko Hirano of Japan.
Dutee had given a hint of things to follow when she had won the preliminary heats in 200 metres with a career best time of 23.57. It was very close to the selection criteria of 23.52 set by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for the Commonwealth Games.
After the disaster of the opening day, when the Indian contingent landed late for competition owing to a visa bungle, that had resulted in Dutee missing out on a medal in the 100 metres, the Indian squad doubled up its collection of medals on the last day to end up with a haul of 12.
The team won five silver and five bronze apart from the two gold, to be placed fifth behind China, Japan, Qatar and Chinese Taipei that accounted for 12, 11, 6 and 4 gold medals respectively.
In women’s discus, Navjeet Kaur Dhillon missed the gold by one centimetre as she threw a distance of 53.66 metres. It was her first throw while Yu-Chen Xie of China went past the mark with her fifth throw. The rest were far behind, and Anushi Desai was seventh with a throw of 40.51.
Navjeet had won the shot put bronze on the opening day.
In heptathlon, Swapna Barman did well to take the silver with 4962 points behind Kotchakorn Khamrueangsri (5290) of Thailand, leaving Ya-Han Tsao of Chinese Taipei, who wound up the show nicely by winning the 800 metres, to the third spot with 4806 points.
Sanjivini Jadhav won the bronze in women’s 3,000 metres with a time of 9 minutes 35.02 seconds, that was two hundredth of a second better than Jin Hyang Pak of Korea. She was far behind Daria Masloa (9:16.23) of Kyrgyzstan and Hanami Sekine (9:17.55) of Japan.
In men’s 5,000 metres, Sharwan Kharb claimed the bronze at 14 minutes 39.41 seconds, behind Musaab Adam Ali (14:34.07) of Qatar and Makoto Mitsunobu (14:38.99) of Japan.
Keywords: Dutee Chand