Su Bingtian on his way to winning the 100m (© Getty Images)
China had two reasons to rejoice on the second day of the 20th Asian Championships in Pune, India, as they took both 100m titles on Thursday (4).
Su Bingtian’s victory in the men’s 100m underlined their recent dominance in the event and Wei Yongli’s success in the women’s short sprint broke a barren spell dating back to 2005.
Su successfully defended the gold medal he won in Kobe with a convincing performance, emerging ahead of Qatar’s Samuel Francis in 10.17
All eyes were on Su and Francis at the start but the Chinese sprinter capitalised on a quick start to dash the Qatari’s hopes.
Francis, the Asian record-holder at 9.99 and the winner in 2007, lost ground to Su and Oman’s Barakat Al Harthi in the early stages of the race. Although the powerful Qatari quickly caught up with Al Harthi, Su proved a little too hot on the day.
Running into a breeze of -0.3m/s, the 23-year-old Chinese sprinter pulled away strongly in the second half of the race to seal his victory as Francis finished second in 10.27 while Al Harthi, the bronze medallist at the 2010 Asian Games, finished third in 10.30.
Su’s win was China’s third straight gold in this event.
Wei, the silver medallist two years ago, simply dominated the women’s 100m field, clocking 11.29 for the gold medal.
She was a cut above the rest of field. Japan's Chisato Fukushima, winner of the sprint double at the 2010 Asian Games, had no chance against the thundering strides of the Chinese and had to settle for silver at 11.53.
Indian discus thrower Vikas Gowda had been knocking on the doors of success for quite a while now and his moment finally arrived on Friday as the rain stayed away and the conditions became almost perfect.
Gowda had won two silver medals in the past, in 2005 and 2011 but the absence of Iran’s Olympic silver medallist Ehsan Hadadi – a four-time Asian champion – meant he was the firm favourite here and the US-based thrower did not disappoint the home fans, throwing 64.90 in the fourth round to win by almost three metres.
It was the perfect early birthday present for Gowda, who turns 30 on Friday but the Indian had no time to celebrate, rushing off to catch a flight to Paris for Saturday’s Diamond League meeting in the French capital.
“Listening to the national anthem on the podium, all those years of hard work came rushing to my mind,” said Gowda, who was eighth at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Karpov won his first Asian Championships gold medal with a composed performance in Decathlon. Just 28 points separated the Karpov from Japan’s Akihiko Nakamura at the halfway point overnight but the 2004 Olympic Games bronze medallist pulled away on day two.
Karpov tallied 8037 points, way below his best but still well ahead of Nakamura’s 7620 and it was also a championship record.
Al-Masrahi retains 400m title
Saudi Arabia’s Youssef Al-Masrahi retained the gold medal in the men’s 400m to underline his status as the best in Asia over one lap of the track.
The 26-year-old took control over the race early and had the strength to sustain his pace in the home straight, stopping the clock at 45.08.
Bahrain’s young 18-year-old prospect, Ali Khamis, fought hard for the silver in a personal best of 45.65 and soon afterwards his excited father Khamis Abbas ran on to the track to hug his son, shedding tears of joy.
China picked up their third gold of the day through Zhao Yanmin in the women’s 400m.
Yanmin dashed the hopes of India’s M R Poovamma with a powerful surge to deliver her season’s best performance of 52.49 that put her on top of the Asian lists as well.
Poovamma, who had swept the Asian Grand Prix series in May, was expecting gold but misjudged her pace badly to end in second spot, timing 53.37.
It was a Bahrain one-two in the men’s 10,000m, with Alemu Bekele taking the gold in 28:47.26, followed by Bilisuma Shugi in 28:58.67.
A thin field of just seven runners heard the starter’s gun and it was the three Indians – Kheta Ram, Ratiram Saini and G Lakshmanan – who set the early pace. Bilisuma and Bekele quietly followed the Indian trio before shifting gears with eight laps to go. Bekele then injected another dose of pace with a little over 1600 metres left to pull away from Bilisuma and emerge a comfortable victor. Saini fetched another bronze for India in 29:35.42.
Uzbekistan’s Nadia Dusanova won the women’s high jump when she was the only competitor to go clear at 1.90m.
Dusanova’s compatriot and former world junior champion Svetlana Radzivil edged Kazakhstan’s Marina Aitova on countback for the silver medal after both had cleared 1.88m.