Yuki Koike wins the 200m at the Asian Games (© AFP / Getty Images)
The closest finish yet of the Asian Games came in the men’s 200m on the fifth day of athletics action in Jakarta on Wednesday (29).
It took a photo finish to separate Japan’s Yuki Koike and Chinese Taipei’s Yang Chunhan. After recording the same reaction time (0.139) and being level at half way, the two sprinters were inseparable for most of the race, the pair crossing the line in PBs of 20.23 (0.7m/s).
After an agonising wait, Koike was eventually confirmed as the winner. Chunhan, the Asian champion, had to settle for silver but was rewarded with a national record. Bahrain’s Mohamed Yacoob Salem was third in 20.55.
Bahrain’s Edidiong Odiong, who had won the 100m earlier in the championships, completed a sprint double by winning the women’s 200m in 22.96, replicating the feats of Mona Sulaiman (1962), Esther Rot (1974), and Chisato Fukushima (2010).
As in the 100m, India’s Dutee Chand and China’s Wei Yongli finished second and third respectively, clocking 23.20 and 23.27. Defending champion Olga Safranova of Kazakhstan was fifth in 23.43.
China's race walking tradition continues
Earlier in the morning, China dominated the men’s and women’s 20km race walks.
Having won the men’s 20km race walk at seven of the past 10 editions of the Asian Games, China once again picked up another gold on Wednesday as Wang Kaihua won in 1:22:04 while his compatriot Jin Xiangqian took bronze in 1:25:41. Japan's Yamanishi clinched the silver medal in 1:22:10.
The women’s event was even more rewarding for China as world champion Yang Jiayu and Olympic bronze medallist Qieyang Shijie secured a Chinese 1-2.
The duo had company for just the first five kilometres before pulling away from the rest of the field, opening a gap of about 48 seconds at half way. India’s Khushbir Kaur also increased her pace dramatically in the second five-kilometre segment, but the Chinese duo had already opened up a significant gap going into the final five kilometres.
Yang finished half a stride ahead of Qieyang but both were given the same time of 1:29:15, a Games record. Japan’s Kumiko Okada caught Kaur in the closing stages to finish third in 1:34:02.
Hadadi makes history
Iran’s 2012 Olympic silver medallist Ehsan Hadadi underlined his continental dominance of the discus by earning a record fourth consecutive gold medal.
Any one of his six marks would have been more than enough to win, but the five-time Asian champion saved his best for last, throwing 65.71m in the final round.
“Everything is about the future,” said the 33-year-old. “I have a silver (from the Olympics); I badly want a gold.”
Iraq’s 2014 Asian junior champion Mustafa Al-Saamah was second with 60.09m and was the only other man to throw beyond 60 metres.
Uzbekistan’s Svetlana Radzivil also made a bit of history on Wednesday as she became the first woman to win three successive gold medals in the high jump at the Asian Games. The 2006 world U20 champion set a Games record of 1.96m to beat her compatriot Nadiya Dusanova, the 2017 Asian champion.
Japan’s World University Games silver medallist Seito Yamamoto won the pole vault with a Games record of 5.70m. China’s Yao Jie took the silver medal on countback with 5.50m, the same height Thailand’s Patsapong Amsam-ang cleared to take bronze with a national record.
Singh and Barman take gold for India
Arpinder Singh clinched India’s first Asian Games triple jump title in 48 years. The Commonwealth bronze medallist jumped 16.77m to beat Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Kurbanov, who set a PB of 16.62m. Pre-event favourite Cao Shuo managed 16.56m for the bronze medal.
India’s Asian heptathlon champion Swapna Barman added the Asian Games title to her collection and surpassed the 6000-point barrier for the first time in her career.
She led overnight but was overtaken after the long jump by China’s Wang Qingling, who recorded 6.44m. But a lifetime best of 50.63m in the javelin from Barman put her back in the lead with just the 800m to go. A 2:21.13 clocking brought her winning tally to 6026 while Wang settled for silver with 5954.
The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for the last event, the qualifying round of the men’s 4x100m. Host nation Indonesia won their heat in 39.03, making them the third fastest qualifiers for the final behind Japan (38.20) and China (38.88).
With one more day of athletics action at the Asian Games, China tops the medals table with 11 gold medals. Bahrain is second with nine gold medals, and India is third with five. 10 more titles are on offer on the final day, including the men’s 50km race walk, 1500m, 5000m, 4x100m, 4x400m, plus the women’s 1500m, triple jump, discus and the two relays.
Jad Adrian Washif for the IAAF