Jakarta, Aug 30 (IANS) Jinson Johnson and the women’s 4X400 metre relay team won gold in their respective events at the 18th Asian Games here on Thursday as Indian athletes recorded their best tally at the continental extravaganza since the inaugural edition in 1951.
The men’s 4X400 metre team added to the cheer in the Indian camp by clinching the silver.
India now have a tally of 7 gold, 10 silver and 2 bronze medals from athletics at this year’s Asiad.
India’s best ever performance in Asian Games athletics came at the inaugural edition in 1951 when they hosted the event in New Delhi. That year, Indian athletes had clinched 10 gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze.
Indian athletes had won seven gold medals at the 2002 edition as well, but had only managed a total of 17 medals, two less than this year.
Johnson clocked 3 minutes and 44.72 seconds to take the yellow medal in the men’s 1,500 metre event. Iran’s Amir Moradi took the silver with his season-best timing of 3:45.62, while Bahrain’s Mohammed Tiouali settled for the bronze with a time of 3:45.88.
Manjit Singh the other Indian in the fray, came fourth with 3:46.57.
Johnson was among the front runners right from the start while Tiouali took the early lead. However, Johnson powered away towards the end and the Bahrain athlete was not able to match the Indian’s explosive speed.
Manjit ran a more tactical race. He had positioned himself near the back of the group and tried to produce his trademark explosive burst going into the final lap. But with the runners closely bunched together in the rear and middle of the group, he found it difficult to create space which ultimately cost him a medal.
In the women’s 4X400m event, the Indian quartet of Hima Das, Raju Poovamma, Saritaben Laxmanbhai Gayakwad and Vismaya Koroth registered a time of 3:28.72 to finish at the top of the podium.
Bahrain got silver with 3:30.61 while the quartet from Vietnam clocked their season’s best time of 3:33.23 to bag the bronze medal.
The Indians were off to a great start as Hima gave them the early lead. The Assam teenager was a bit slow off the blocks, but produced a superb finishing kick going into the final bend to leave the other runners behind. The other Indian runners built on the lead and claimed what turned out be a comfortable victory in the end.
In the men’s 4X400m relay, the Indian quartet of Muhammed Kunhu, Dharun Ayyasamy, Muhammed Anas and Rajiv Arokia clocked a time of 3:1.85 to finish second.
Qatar created a new Asian record of 3:00.56 to win the gold while Japan finished the race in 3:01.94 and bagged the bronze medal.
Boasting an all African line-up, Qatar dominated the race from start to finish. The Indians were at the fourth position during the initial stages but recovered in superb fashion to take the second spot going into the final lap.
In women’s discus, Seema Punia had to settle for the bronze medal. Seema registered a throw of 62.26 metres to ensure a place on the podium.
China clinched the top two positions with Chen Yang (65.12m) and Feng Bin (64.25m) getting gold and silver, respectively.
Chitra Unnikrishnan Palakeezh bagged bronze in the women’s 1500 metre competition. The 23-year-old clocked 4:12.56 to finish the race at third place, while Bahrain secured the top two places as Kalkidan Befkadu and Tigist Belay clinched gold and silver respectively.
In the morning session, India’s Sandeep Kumar was disqualified during the men’s 50 kilometre race walk.
Sandeep received three official warnings during the race which led to his disqualification.
Hayato Katsuki of Japan won gold with a time of four hours, three minutes and 30 seconds. Wang Qin of China took silver with a time of 4:06:48 while South Korea’s Joo Hyunmyeong clocked 4:10:21 to bag the bronze medal.
Katsuki was trailing during the initial stages of the race before taking the lead at the 45km mark which he held till the end.