India win 3 gold and 2 bronze medals on Day 2 of Asian Athletics Championships

Bangkok, Jul 13 (PTI) India bagged three gold and two bronze medals on the second day of the Asian Athletics Championships with Jyothi Yarraji becoming the first from the country to secure top podium finish in women’s 100m hurdles in the continental showpiece here on Thursday.

The 23-year-old Yarraji opened India’s gold medal account in the championships as she clinched her maiden yellow metal in a major international event.

Ajay Kumar Saroj ran a brilliant tactical race to win the men’s 1500m gold before Commonwealth Games silver medallist Abdulla Aboobacker added a yellow metal for the country by clinching the men’s triple jump event.

It was an impressive show by the Indians as they won three gold out of 10 on offer on Thursday.

Quartermiler Aishwarya Mishra (53.07 seconds) and Tajaswin Shankar were the other medal winning Indians on the day, with a bronze in women’s 400m final and gruelling men’s decathlon.

In fact, it was the maiden international medal for both Aishwarya and Tejaswin in the senior level in their respective events, competing in their maiden international event.

Tejaswin had won a high jump bronze in the 2022 Commonwealth Games but had taken up to decathlon last year only.

It was a close 100m hurdles for Yarraji as she clocked 13.09 seconds ahead of two Japanese runners Terada Asuka (13.13s) and Aoki Masumi (13.26s) on a rain-drenched track at the Supachalasai Stadium.

The event had long been dominated by the Japanese and Chinese in the championships.

Yarraji’s national record stands at 12.82 seconds. She had won gold in the National Inter-State Championships last month in 12.92 seconds but the wet track, after rain lashed the stadium, was not ideal for a fast time.

“I was in very good shape and I thought today would be my day and I would be able to do my personal best. But suddenly rain came down and because of that my timing was not that good,” Yarraji rued.

“I was leading at the fifth hurdle, the sixth one was good, but I slipped a bit in the seventh hurdles. That also was the reason for my timing not going below 13 seconds,” she said in a post-race virtual interaction.

In the men’s 1500m, the 26-year-old Saroj ran a brilliantly executed race as he came out of nowhere in the final bend to go past two opponents and win the gold.

He clocked 3:41.51 seconds, two and half seconds outside his personal best of 3:39.19 which he had recorded last month in an event in USA.

It was the third medal on the trot and second gold for Saroj, who had trained in the USA in May, in the Asian Athletics Championships. He had won gold in the 2017 edition in Bhubaneswar and silver in 2019 in Doha.

Saroj said he knew there were two or three tough competitors and his strategy was to follow them before making the final kick at the last stretch.

“Because my training in the USA (Colorado Springs) earlier this year (under Scott Simmons), I have come here with confidence. There was the Qatari runner and two Japanese runners who can run in the range of 3:37 and 3:38.

“So, my strategy was to follow them till just before the end. I preserve myself and was able to make the final kick in the final stretch. My aim was to win the gold and not much on timing,” he said.

“Now I will train hard and I think I can do 3:36 or 3:34.” For Aboobacker, it was his season’s best effort of 16.92m that fetched him the gold, ahead of Ikehata Hikaru (16.73m) of Japan and Jangwoo Kim (16.59m) of Korea.

The 27-year-old began with a foul but cleared 16.92m in his fourth attempt for the gold.

“Because of rain, the (jumping) board was moving. Still I was confident of doing well and I was able to that finally,” said Aboobacker, who has a personal best of 17.19m. Aishwarya said she made a mistake of exerting more than necessary in the initial part of her race and she was left with little energy in the final stretch.

“This is my first international event and so I made the mistake. The rhythm was also lacking but I will learn with experience,” she said.

Tajswin accumulated 7527 points from the 10 events he competed over two days, which is less than the 7576 he had totalled while winning gold in the National Inter-State Championships last month.

“I need further improvement in shot put, pole vault, discus throw and javelin. But I need more competition and more exposure. I am in decathlon for just one year while my competitors here have been doing for years,” he said.

On Wednesday, Abhishek Pal had opened India’s medal account with a bronze in men’s 10,000m race.

Source: PTI News


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