In a stunning show of dominance, India clinched five gold on last day to top the medal tally for first time in the history of Asian Athletics Championship pushing China to second spot, in their most successful campaign in the continental flagship event on Sunday.
With today’s 5 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze, India ended the four-day championships on top with 29 medals (12 gold, 5 silver and 12 bronze), their highest ever medal haul.
The previous biggest medal haul for India was of 22 medals they achieved twice in Jakarta (1985) & New Delhi (1989).
Jakarta Asian Championship (1985) – 22 medals (10 Gold, 5 Silvers & 7 Bronze) , Finished 2nd !
New Delhi Asian Championship (1989) – 22 medals (8 Gold, 9 Silvers & 5 Bronze) , Finished 2nd !
China ended this edition at the second position with 8 gold, 7 silver, 5 bronze. They won 3 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze today.
Kazakhstan finished third with 4 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze while Iran ended on fourth with 4 gold and 1 bronze.
Japan had topped the medal tally in the first five editions of the Asian championships from 1973 to 1981, while China’s domination began from 1983 at Kuwait City and continued till the previous edition at their home venue in Wuhan two years ago.
India snapped China’s monopoly this time though their northern neighbours fielded only a second string team here with their athletes reserving their best for the upcoming World championships in London next month.
However, it was a heartbreak for India as their 800m runner Archana Adhav was disqualified, after being initially declared as the gold medal winner, for pushing Sri Lankan rival Nimali Waliwarsha Konda from behind near the finishing line.
Sri Lanka won their protest and the gold medal was awarded to their athlete Konda. India requested to reconsider the decision but the jury of technical delegates refused, saying that it was an unanimous decision to disqualify Archana.
India thus lost a yellow metal in dramatic circumstances. Defending champion Tintu Luka also did not finish the race as she pulled out in the second lap.
It was heptathlete Swapna Barman who gave India the first gold of the day (after Archana was qualified) as she collected a total of 5942 points from the seven events.
The 20-year-old from Bengal collapsed just after crossing the 800m race, the last of the seven events, and she was taken for immediate medical attention.
Japan’s Meg Hemphill was second with 5883 points while another Indian Purnima Hembram was third with 5798 points.
After that Lakhsmanan Govindan took the centrestage as he grabbed his second gold of the championships by winning the men’s 10,000m event in 29 minute and 55.87 seconds. He and eventual silver winner compatriot Gopi (29:58.89) had enough energy in their tank to have a sprint contest towards the end.
Lakhsmanan turned out to be the most successful Indian as he had already won a gold in the 5000m race on the opening day. He had won a bronze and a silver in the 5000m and 10,000m in the last edition in China.
“I could not win a gold in the two events in China but since then I have improved a lot. Though the timings were slow due to humid conditions, I’m happy to have won two gold medal for the country. I hope to improve my best timing in the World Championships,” he said after winning the gold.
U-20 Champion & World Record Holder Neeraj Chopra smashed the meet record of Men’s Javelin Throw to clinch Gold for India in Asian Athletics Championship on Sunday.
India’s sensation Neeraj Chopra who recently participated in Paris Diamond League where he finished 5th, got the better of previous meet record by 85.23m in his last throw.
Another Indian in the frame, Davinder Singh also gave a thunderous performance to grab a medal with the throw of 83.29m.
In men’s 800m race, India won a bronze through Jinson Johnson, who clocked 1 minute 50.07 seconds.