Athletes deliver best-ever Asiad performance

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Aug 2018 08:06:47

India’s Jinson Johnson celebrates winning the final of the men’s 1500m athletics event, (R) athletes, from left, Sarita Gayakwad, Hima Das, Vismaya and Poovamma Raju celebrate after winning the Gold medal in the women’s 4x400m relay event during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on Thursday



Johnson, women’s 4x400m relay team win gold medals

Indian athletes end with seven gold, 10 silver and two bronze medals


THERE was no stopping the gold rush from track-and-field as the athletes exceeded all expectations for its best Asian Games performance in close to seven decades as India sprint past the previous edition’s medal haul on Thursday.

The Indian 4x400m women’s relay team clinched its fifth consecutive Asian Games gold medal to maintain a remarkable domination in this event while Jinson Johnson won the men’s 1500m final race as the country produced its best ever show in athletics since the inaugural 1951 edition.

The defending champion men’s 4x400m team could not get the top position but pulled off a creditable silver with the quartet of Kunhu Muhammed, Dharunn Ayyasamy, Muhammed Anas and Arokia Rajiv timing 3:01.85sec to finish behind Qatar, which won gold in an Asian record of 3:00.56sec. After six days of competition, India grabbed 7 gold, 10 silver and two bronze, a gold less than what they achieved at 1978 Asian Games held in Bangkok. The gold count was same as in 2002 Asian Games at Busan but India had won a total of 17 medals in these two earlier editions as against 19 this time.

In the inaugural edition in 1951 held in New Delhi, India had won a total of 31 medals from athletics, including 10 gold. In 1982, India had won 20 medals in athletics but there were only four gold, the rest being eight silver and eight bronze.  India finished third in athletics behind China (12, 12, 9) and Bahrain (12, 6, 7). India won five medals on the final day with Jinson winning the gold in the men’s 1500m before the women’s team narrowly missed the Games record in their comfortable victory in 4x400m relay.

Jinson did not give any chance to his rivals to win the race in 3 min 44.72 secs. He crossed the line leaving behind Amir Moradi (3:45.62) and Mohammed Tiouali (3:45.88).
Young sprinter Hima Das won her second medal, and this time a gold, as the Indian women’s quartet of Hima, MR Poovamma, Sarita Gayakwad and VK Bismaya faced no competition to claim gold.

Diminutive Chitra, who won gold in the Asian Championship last year in Bhubaneswar, clocked 4:12.56 to win a bronze, her first Asian Games medal.