Impressive opening day for India at Asian athletics meet (Roundup)

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Bhubaneswar, July 6 (IANS) Manpreet Kaur and Govindan Laxmanan won gold in their respective events as India registered an impressive start to their campaiugn at the Asian Athletics Championships at the Kalinga Stadium here on Thursday.

Manpreet won gold in the women’s shotput while Laxmanan emerged triumphant in the men’s 5,000 metres. The duo also qualified for the World Championships to be held in London from August 5-13.

V. Neena and Nayan James bagged a silver and bronze respectively in women’s long jump while Vikas Gowda (men’s discuss), Sanjeevni Yadav (women’s 5,000m) and Annu Rani (women’s javlin) also took bronze.

India are now at the top of the standings with seven medals.

Manpreet dominated her event with a best throw of 18.28 metres to register the first gold for India in the event.

Guan Quayin China took silver with 17.91.

Laxmanan on the other hand, had to struggle hard for his gold medal.

He was trailing the leading four runners towards the end of the second last lap but he produced a stunning sprint finish over the final 300 metres to win by a handsome margin.

Laxmanan, who took bronze at the previous edition which was held in Wuhan, China in 2013, registered a time of 14 minutes and 54.48 seconds.

Yaser Salem of Qatar (14:55.89) took silver while Tariq Ahmed (14:56.83) of Saudi Arabia finished with the bronze.

In women’s long jump, Neena and James registered jumps of 6.54 metres and 6.42 metres respectively.

Vietnam’s Bui Thi Thu also had a best jump of 6.54m but was awarded the gold as her second best effort of 6.44m was better than Neena’s 6.32m.

The experienced Vikas Gowda took bronze in the men’s discuss to boost the Indian tally. The Karnataka athlete, who had won gold at the previous two editions, saw his title slip from his grasp with an effort of 60.81 metres.

Gowda’s other throws registered 54.66m, 58.96m, 59.41m, and 58.98m. His fifth attempt was disqualified.

Mohammad Samimi of Iran took the gold in the men’s discuss with 64.54m while Malaysian Mohd Irfan Shamsuddin ended up with the bronze with 60.96m.

Sanjeevni meanwhile, clocked 16 minutes and 00.24 seconds to finish behind Kyrgyzstan’s Daria Maslova (15:57.95) and Alia Mohammed (15:59.95) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the women’s 5,000m.

In other events, star India sprinter Dutee Chand eased into the semi-finals of the women’s 100m by winning her qualifying round with a time of 11.40 seconds.

Earlier during the morning session, India enjoyed a positive start to their campaign with national record holder Muhammed Anas, Rajiv Arokia and Amoj Jacob easing into the semi-finals of the men’s 400 metres event.

The trio, however, displayed contrasting performances in their respective heats. Anas finished second in Heat 1 behind Sri Lanka’s Dilip Ruwan. Arokia on the other hand, took the lead on the first bend and held the upper hand till the end.

Jacob had to struggle before finishing as the winner in his heat. The Indian was trailing the three lead runners going into the final stretch before staging a dramatic comeback to take pole position.

Meanwhile, Asian indoor championships bronze medallist Ahmed Mubarak of Oman was the winner of Heat 4.

In the men’s 1500m, India’s Ajay Kumar Saroj set the pace in Heat 1 and Siddharth Adhikary qualified from Heat 2 with a second-place finish behind 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist Jamal Hairane of Qatar.

In the women’s 1500m, Chitra PU qualified for the semi-finals from Heat 2, while Monika Chaudhary crashed out after finishing in fourth place in Heat 1.

In the men’s decathlon that kickstarted the proceedings, Japan’s Kazuya Kawasaki took an early lead with the 100m sprint leg of the event.

India’s Abhishek Shetty was playing catch-up in a strong field that includes Asian Championships silver medallist Guo Qi from China.

The men’s high jump also got underway with China’s Asian Games silver medallist Zhang Guowei and others setting a modest qualification standard of 2.10m.

–IANS

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