Femi Ogunode celebrates after his area 100m record at the 2014 Asian Games (© Getty Images)
Qatari sprinter Femi Ogunode provided the biggest highlight of an entertaining second day of the 2014 Asian Games athletics programme when he sped to an Asian 100m record of 9.93 in the South Korean city of Inchon on Sunday (28).
With a slight 0.4m/s breeze on his back, and despite a far-from-perfect start, Ogunode quickly got into his running before taking 0.06 off the Asian record that had been held by his compatriot Samuel Francis since 2007.
"I had a feeling that I would break the Asian record and I promise I'll win more gold medals here," said the ebullient Ogunode, who is also running the 200m and the 4x100m relay. "Look out for me in the World Championships in China in 2015 and the Rio Olympic Games in 2016."
Ogunode had given notice that he was ready to go into new territory when he clocked 10.02 in his semi-final earlier in the day. A distant second in the final was China’s Su Bingtian in 10.10. Former Asian record-holder Francis, who appeared to be struggling with a leg injury, finished last in the final.
Asian records almost fell in two other events.
Saudi Arabia’s Youssef Masrahi, the bronze medallist at the last Games four years ago, set an impressive Games record in the men’s 400m of 44.46, taking 0.47 off the previous mark and coming home just 0.03 outside his own continental standard set at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne earlier this summer.
Bahrain’s Abbas Abubakar Abbas, still only 18, couldn’t quite reignite the fireworks he let off in his semi-final on Saturday, when he clocked 45.17, but still grabbed the silver medal with 45.62.
Abbas’ countrywoman Kemi Adekoya won the women’s 400m comfortably in 51.59, although she was slower than her Games record of 51.11 set in Saturday’s heat.
Quach Thi Lan got a rare athletics medal for Vietnam as she surprised to take the silver medal in 52.06, her second personal best over one lap of the track in as many days.
China took the remaining five titles on Sunday.
China’s Asian record-holder Wang Zhen got the first of the day’s gold medals in the men’s 20km race walk, winning in a Games record of 1:19:45.
Wang duelled with Japan’s Yusuke Suzuki from the halfway point until 17 kilometres, when the Chinese race walker started to pull away from his rival before clinching the victory.
Suzuki hung on to claim the silver medal in 1:20.44 with local star Hyunsub Kim taking the bronze medal for South Korea in 1:21:37.
The women’s race three hours later didn’t quite have the same depth but Lu Xiuzhi made it a double for China in the discipline with a win in 1:31:06, finishing more than two minutes ahead of the Indian silver medallist Kaur Khushbir, who was second in 1:33.07.
China also dominated the women’s hammer later in the day with three-time world bronze medallist Zhang Wenxiu winning with a Games record of 77.33m to retain the title she had also won in 2006 and 2010.
The distance added 34cm to her personal best and smashed her own Games record set eight years ago by more than three metres.
Zhang was also only 35cm away from the Asian record of her compatriot Wang Zheng, set earlier this year on home soil in Chengdu.
Wang, the 2013 Asian champion, briefly took the lead in the third round with 74.16m, after Zhang had reached 74.14m with her first throw, but the latter responded immediately with 74.27m.
Zhang then asserted her authority in the second half of the contest with successively improving throws of 75.96m, 76.20m and then 77.33m while Wang could not improve and eventually had to settle for the silver medal.
Xue Changrui, second for Asia-Pacific at the IAAF Continental Cup two weeks ago, fulfilled his role as the men’s pole vault favourite and added to China’s burgeoning gold reserves as he took the title with 5.55m.
Japan’s Daichi Sawano cleared the same height before both men failed three times at what would have been a Games record-equalling height of 5.65m but Xue got the gold medal thanks to his flawless record and first-time clearances at 5.45m and 5.55m, the only other heights he attempted.
Wei Yongli, from China, got the verdict after a tight finish in the women’s 100m, winning in 11.48, into a -0.5m/s headwind.
Japanese record-holder Chisato Fukushima was second with 11.49 and Olga Safronova of Kazakhstan took the bronze medal in 11.50.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF