SPORT

Ghamanda, Shanthi bag gold medals

BANGKOK: Armyman Ghamanda Ram and Tamil Nadu girl S. Shanthi added to India's golden tally by winning the 800 metres on the second day of the athletics programme in the Asian Indoor Games at Pattaya, near here, on Monday.

India, however, had cause for disappointment when Pinki Parmanik, a sure bet for at least a medal, was disqualified after she pulled out of the 400 metres.

Ghamanda, a disappointment at the recent Asian championships at Incheon, Korea, clocked a modest 1:50.69 to win the men's two-lap event in a field that did not have Asia's top runners. Salem Al Badri Amer of Qatar was second in 1:52.27 while Mohammed Al Azemi of Kuwait took the bronze in 1:52.40.

Shanthi, silver winner at Incheon, won untroubled in the women's event, clocking 2:06.07. China's Huang Jing (2:07.32) and Kazakhstan's Viktoriya Yalovtseva (2:09.05) claimed the silver and bronze.

Pinki Parmanik was disqualified from both the 400m and 800m after she took two strides in the final of the one-lap event before pulling out, apparently in an effort to conserve her energy for the 800 metres that was to follow.

"She had to make a genuine effort to run the race, otherwise, according to the IAAF rules she attracted disqualification," said the Secretary of the Asian Athletics Association, Maurice Nicholas. Rules do not allow a runner to pull out of an event for which he or she would have confirmed entry, without a compelling reason, and then compete in another event of the same meet.

The normal practice would have been to disqualify Parmanik from the rest of the events in a championship, but there is a possibility she could be re-instated for the women's 4x400m relay to be run on Tuesday. The Indian team management will be required to produce a medical certificate to explain her action on Monday for her to have any chance of figuring in the longer relay.

India also had a bronze in the Thai boxing sport of muay when Kamal Singh Thakur won the third place in the bantamweight class on Monday.

The lone Indian swimmer in the fray, Shikha Tandon finished sixth in the 50m backstroke final, clocking 30.52s on Monday. She had come seventh in the 50m freestyle final on Sunday, clocking 26.89s, just 0.39s shy of her national record.

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