Xie Wenjun (l) en route to Asian title (© Getty Images)
China took four out of seven gold medals on offer on the fourth day of athletics competition at the Asian Games in Jakarta on Tuesday (28).
The first one came from the men’s 110m hurdles as China’s Xie Wenjun successfully defended his title ahead of Chinese Taipei’s Chen Kueiru who was leading from the mid-way point. Xie, who trailed Japan’s Shunya Takayama and Chen, finally pulled ahead after the last hurdle, clocking 13.34, 0.02 faster than his winning time from 2014.
Chen recorded a personal best of 13.39 for silver and Takayama took the bronze in 13.48. This title continues China’s domination of the men’s 110m hurdles at the Asian Games as they’ve won the past nine Games successively from 1986-2018.
In the women’s pole vault, China’s defending champion Li Ling cleared 4.60m to break her own Games record of 4.35m, which was held jointly with Gao Shuying. Li, who recorded an Asian indoor record of 4.70m last year, started off her competition at 4.20m, then broke the record with 4.40m before clearing 4.60m, both with her third attempts. She then topped out at 4.71m. Thailand’s Asian championship medallist Chayanisa Chomchuendee grabbed silver after clearing a national record of 4.30m. The bronze medal went to South Korea’s Lim Eunji with 4.20m.
In the women’s javelin, China’s former Asian champion Liu Shiying rewrote the Games record with a 66.09m throw in the opening round. Liu, who won silver medal at 2012 IAAF World U20 Championships, registered her next four throws with distances of 64.13m to 65.39m before deciding to pass on her last attempt. Compatriot Lyu Huihui, who set an Asian record of 67.69m in May, settled for silver with 63.16m. The bronze medal went to South Korea’s Asian medallist Gim Gyeong Ae with a distance of 56.74m.
In the women’s 800m, China’s Wang Chunyu, who won the 2018 Asian indoors, pulled away from the field as she entered the home stretch to take gold in 2:01.80 from Kazakhstan’s defending champion Margarita Mukasheva, who passed Bahrain’s Manal Elbahraoui in the waning stages to finish second (2:02.40). The Bahraini took bronze in 2:02.69.
Almost the entire men’s 800m race was led by Qatar’s Abubaker Abdalla who passed through the first lap in 53.7. He held off the field until the last 40 metres when he was overtaken by India’s Manjit Singh, who outran the pre-race favourite Jinson Johnson during the final sprint to clinch the gold medal in a lifetime best of 1:46.15. Two-time Asian medallist Johnson bagged silver as he managed to pip the Qatari on the line, 1:46.35 to 1:46.38.
Bahrain won gold and bronze medals in the women’s 5000m with Kalkidan Befkadu first (15:08.08) and Bontu Rebitu third (15:36.78). The Ethiopian-born Befkadu led the competition at halfway, and lapped four out of the 15 athletes over the last three circuits before crossing the line with a 69-second final lap. The silver medal went to Kyrgyzstan’s Daria Maslova (15:30.57) who won the 10,000m earlier. Maslova took the 5000/10,000m double at the 2017 Asian Championships.
The last gold medal of the day was the 4x400m mixed relay that made its debut at the Asian Games. Bahrain’s quartet of Ali Khamis (Olympic finalist), Salwa Eid Naser (400m champion), Oluwakemi Adekoya (400m hurdles champion), and Abubakar Abbas (silver 2014 Asiad) finished first in 3:11.89, a world best, ahead of India and Kazakhstan who clocked 3:15.71 and 3:19.52 respectively.
Elsewhere, Bahrain’s 100m champion Edidiong Odiong went through to the women’s 200m final comfortably after recording 23.01 in her semifinal, but it was India’s Dutee Chand who had the fastest time of the round clocking 23.00. Japan’s Yuki Koike, whose 200m best is 20.29, recorded the fastest time on the men’s side with 20.35, followed by South Korea’s Asian champion Yang Chunhan with 20.53, Salem Eid Yaqoob (20.61), Shota Iizuka (20.64), and Kim Kokyoung (20.66). Meanwhile, Tosin Ogunode who recorded 20.78 in the heats, injured his hamstring in the semi-final, knocking him out of the competition.
Eight gold medals will be decided on Wednesday (29): the men’s 200m, 20km race walk, pole vault, triple jump, and discus, and the women’s 200m, 20km race walk, and high jump.
Jad Adrian Washif for the IAAF