2022 Asian Games: Medal rush for India in athletics on day 8; Tejinder Pal, Avinash Sable clinch gold
India now have 12 medals in athletics in Hangzhou Asian Games, including 2 gold.
Tejinder Pal and Avinash Sable (Credits: English Jagran and The Week)
Before the commencement of the 2022 Asian Games currently underway in Hangzhou, many sports pundits predicted that India would bag the biggest medal haul this time around in athletics. Well, it was not just a hearsay statement as in the previous edition in Jakarta, India returned with 20 medals from athletics, including 8 gold, out of the total 70 medals India won in 2018.
The prophecy is turning out to be true as within just 3 days from when the athletics events began on Friday, India has already accumulated 12 with many events still to begin. Out of those 12, 9 alone have come today as Indians dominated the track and field events and showed why they are such a powerhouse in this sport at the Asian level.
Arguably the biggest story of the day was Tejinder Pal Singh Toor defending his shot put crown won in the 2018 Asian Games with his best effort of 20.36m in the last throw giving him the first place. It was far from an ideal final for Toor, who was expected to dominate the field as he is the current Asian record holder by a fine margin. However, he fouled his first two throws and stood on the brink of elimination. Then, before taking his final throw, the Punjab lad was occupying the second position and was looking that he would have to settle for silver but the Punjab lad gave his everything in the final throw to again prove that he was well and truly the number one in Asia. A below-par performance from Toor was enough to lay his hands on gold.
The 3000m men’s steeplechase final went on expected lines as Avinash Sable dominated the field and blazed his way to gold with the Games record timing of 8:19.50 minutes. Sable led the race from the start and never let the intensity drop as he put behind a disappointing performance in the World Athletics Champions held in Budapest last month to become the Asian champion.
Seema Punia bags her third Asian Games medal; two medals in men’s 1500m event
Another athlete who had a below-par performance in Budapest, Murali Sreeshankar once again showed that he is a world-class athlete as he came up with 8.19m in his fourth attempt to claim silver. It was always going to be a battle for gold with 2022 world champion and home favourite Jianan Wang, and the Chinese trumped it as he came up with an impressive jump of 8.22m just 0.03m more than Sreeshankar’s effort.
A veteran in discuss throw, Seema Punia proved why she is the best in India in her discipline even at the age of 40, as she clinched her third Asian Games medal by finishing third with a season’s best throw of 58.62m. It was another second and third-place finish in men’s 1500m after India clinched a silver and bronze in the men’s 10000m final yesterday. Ajay Kumar Saroj pipped his compatriot and defending champion Jinson Johnson to come runner-up with a timing of 3:38.94 minutes.
In other results of the day in athletics, emerging star Jyoti Yarraji finished third in the women’s 100m hurdles final, but her medal was later upgraded from bronze to silver after the Chinese competitor who had come second, was disqualified for a false start. Nandini Agasara ran a brilliant personal best time of 2:15.33 minutes in the final 800m event of the women’s heptathlon, which helped her pip her compatriot and reigning Asian Games gold medalist Swapna Barman by just 4 points to claim a bronze medal. Harmilan Bains found her way between the two Bahrainians as she clinched silver in women’s 1500m with a timing of 4:12.74 minutes. It was a fitting moment for her after her mother had won the gold medal in women’s 800m at the 2002 Busan Asian Games.
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