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Francis shatters Asian 100m record

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Preeja Sreedharan.
Preeja Sreedharan.

K. P. Mohan

Sinimole, Shobha and Preeja bag silver medals

AMMAN: On a day when the Asian record in the 100 metres was bettered by the 20-year-old Qatari of Nigerian origin, Samuel A. Francis, India had two silver medals through Sinimole Paulose and J. J. Shobha in the Asian athletics championships here on Thursday.

Francis, making his Asian debut as an “import” in Qatari colours, had given notice of his prowess with a championships record in the heats on Wednesday.

On Thursday he simply ran away from the rest past the half-way mark after a false start seemed to have upset every runner in the 100m final.

Francis clocked 9.99s and on a windy day with almost every race being affected, the Qatari was lucky to get a reading of 0.9m/s, which was within allowable limits. Anything above 2m/s will not be considered for record purposes.

Japanese Koji Ito’s mark of 10.00s had stood as the Asian record since the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games and though Francis can never be considered as an Asian with ‘imports’ being a regular feature in the Gulf countries, the young Nigerian’s record will be treated as an Asian mark only.

Susanthika triumphs

Susanthika Jayasinghe won the women’s 100m gold without a challenge, as was to be expected, in a personal best 11.19, but that was aided by a wind of 3.1m/s.

India did not have things its way on the second day though the day produced two more silvers to add to the one Preeja Sreedharan took in the women’s 10,000 metres on late Wednesday evening action.

Sinimole Paulose, favourite to claim a double, tamely lost to little-known Vietnamese Truong Thanh Hang in the final of the 800 metres. Sinimole could not respond to the feeble kick of the Vietnamese on the home straight and just followed her rival to the finish-line in 2:06.15. The Vietnamese clocked 2:04.77. Japanese Jinouchi Ayako came third.

The Kerala girl said that the strong winds on the backstraight affected her as she had to lead without knowing what could be in store if she waited behind.

J. J. Shobha and Susmita Singha Roy expectedly took the silver and bronze behind Kazakh Irina Naumenko in the heptathlon. Shobha’s better showing in shot put and javelin helped her claim the silver ahead of the Bengal girl.

India’s distance runners, Surendra Singh and Santosh Kumar were lapped by the Qataris and Bahrain runners in the 10,000 metres. Surendra finished fifth and Santosh sixth among seven finishers. Qatari Abdullah Ahmad Hassan won in 29:45.95.

India’s first medal

Preeja Sreedharan earned for India its first medal, the silver in the women’s 10,000 metres.

In a three-woman field, the medals were more or less decided even before the race began, with Bahrain’s Kareema Saleh Jasim, the silver winner at the Doha Asian Games, clearly a cut above the Indian and North Korean Kim Mi Gyong.

Kareema coasted to a 34:26.39 victory while Preeja clocked one of her poorest in recent months in coming more than one and a half minutes behind the Bahrainian. The 26-year-old Kerala woman timed 36:04.54.

The results:

Men: 100m: 1. Samuel A. Francis (Qat) 9.99s (Asian record, previous 10.00, Koji Ito, Japan, Bangkok, 1998), 2. Ueno Masahide (Jpn) 10.26, 3. Alwaleed Abdullah (Qat) 10.30; 10,000m: 1. Abdullah Ahmad Hassan (Qat) 29:45.95, 2. Sedam Ali Dawoud (Qatar) 29:58.33, 3. Mahboob Ali Hassan (Brn) 30:05.12; Long jump: 1. Mohammed Salman Al-Khuwaidi (KSA) 8.16w, 2. Saleh Al Haddad (Kuw) 8.05w, 2. Li Runrun (Chn) 7.84w; 20km walk: 1. Cui Zhide (Chn) 1:30: 21.30, 2. Shin Il-Yong (Kor) 1:31:33.42, 3. Rustom Kuwalov (Kaz) 1:32:37.56.

Women: 100m: 1. Susanthika Jayasinghe (Sri) 11.19, 2. Vu Thi Hong (Vie) 11.33, 3. Zou Yingting (Chn) 11.54; 800m: 1. Truong Thanh Hang (Vie) 2:04.77, 2. Sinimole Paulose (Ind) 2:06.15, 3. Jinouchi Ayako (Jpn) 2:08.75; Shot put: 1. Liu Xiangruong (Chn) 17.65, 2. Lee Mi-Young (Kor) 16.58, 3. Lin Chiya-Yin (Tpe) 16.46; Javelin: 1. Buoban Phamang (Tha) 58.35, 2. Kim Kyong-Ae (Kor) 53.01, 3. Nadeeka Lakmali (Sri) 52.59; Heptathlon: 1. Irina Naumenko (Kaz) 5617, 2. J. J. Shobha (Ind) 5356, 3. Susmita Singha Roy (Ind) 5154.

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