Indian athletes secured a total of 5 medals at the third day of the Asian Athletics Championships being held in Bhubaneswar. The one gold came from the women’s 3000m steeplechase where Sudha Singh clocked 9:59.47. In women’s 400m hurdles, Anu Raghavan secured silver whereas women’s 4x100m team and triple jumper NV Sheena bagged a bronze each. The only men’s medal came in the 400m hurdles where MP Jabir managed to finish with a bronze medal.
It is the first gold medal for the 31-year-old Sudha in her fourth Asian Championship. She had won silver in the 2011, 2013, and 2015 editions. This win ensured her qualification for the World Championships next month in London. She was the only sub-10 minute finisher in the race in the absence of world record holder Ruth Jebet. North Korea’s Hyo Gyong came second in 10:13.94 while Japan’s Nana Sato took the bronze in 10:18.11.
“I am very happy to win this gold. This is my top level competition after Rio Olympics. I was down with swine flu after the Rio Olympics and I was down for five-six months and after that, I started training slowly and steadily. So, this win is special. It is a slow timing but the conditions are not that good,” she said after her win.
“My coach told me not to hang around for long. He told me to break away from the rest and not wait for the final moment. That was what I did,” she added.
The second medal of the came from the 400m hurdles. Raghavan finished an impressive second behind Nguyen Thi of Vietnam. Jabir clocked his personal best of 50.22 to secure a bronze behind Eric Shawn Cray (49.57) of Philippines and Chen Chieh (49.75) of Chinese Taipei.
The women’s 4x100m relay team also brought India a bronze with a timing of 44.57. The team comprising of Dutee Chand, Himashree Roy, Merlin K Joseph and Srabani Nanda fell short of the Kazakh and Chinese teams. The Kazakh team comprised of the gold and silver medalists from the 100m finals who had defeated Dutee in her quest for the gold a day before.
In women’s long jump, NV Sheena pulled great final jump to enter into a podium finish with a 13.42m effort. The total medals tally for India went up to 20 at the end of the third day. The highest number of medals secured by India in the Asian championships was way back in 1985 when Indian athletes won a total of 22 medals including 10 gold. If they continue their performance on the penultimate day of the competition, the record is in near sight of being broken.
For the final day events, Tintu Luka qualified for the women’s 800m finals with a comfortable 2:06.66 timing. She is the current favourite to top the chart in her category. In men’s 800m national champion Jinson Johnson also qualified for the finals but has to deal with a leg injury for the event he picked up a few weeks ago. Events including men’s long jump, 4x400m relay is also yet to be completed on the final day.