Long jumper Wang Jianan in action at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (© David Tarbotton)
The 110 hurdles is almost synonymous in Asia with Liu Xiang and on the third day of the 20th Asian Athletics Championships in Pune, India, it was the turn of Jiang Fan to take China’s legacy forward in the event on Friday (6).
Fan, 23, a silver medallist at the 2011 World University Games kept his cool despite two false starts to romp home in the final in 13.61 (+0.1) for his maiden continental title.
After the false starts accounted for Iraq’s Rami Ibrahim and South Korea’s Park Tae-Kyong, Fan bolted off the blocks quickly and faced very little challenge with Kuwait’s Abdulaziz Almandeel finishing second in 13.78.
It was China’s 12th gold medal in this event in Asian Championships history, underlining their strength and depth over the barriers.
On a cool evening which also saw a brief but spell of rain midway through the programme, two championship records were created.
China’s Wang Zheng won the women’s Hammer with 72.78m, improving upon the mark of 72.07m set by compatriot Zhang Wenxiu in 2009. The second record emerged after an amazing display of front-running by Bahrain teenager Ruth Chebet in the women’s 3000 Steeplechase.
Chebet, hit the front early and built up a big lead, catching India’s Asian Games champion Sudha Singh off-guard.
Sudha, the Asian leader this season at 9:45.60, couldn’t counter the Bahrain girl’s audacious tactics leaving Chebet to cross the line in 9:40.84, beating her own national record by nearly 12 seconds and an improvement by a similar amount upon Minori Hayakari’s championship record of 9:52.42 set in 2011.
Another precocious teenager held sway in the men’s Long Jump pit. China’s 16-year-old Wang Jianan showed plenty of composure in wet and windy conditions to take the gold medal in 7.95m, just three centimetres ahead of India’s Kumarvel Prem Kumar.
Bahrain’s Tareq Mubarek Taher returned to the top of the podium after a four-year gap in the men’s 3000 Steeplechase. The two-time Asian Games champion was challenged closely by compatriot Dejene Regassa Mootuma until Taher pulled away decisively in the final lap for a convincing win in 8:34.77, with Regassa second in 8:37.40.
“I had an ankle injury and this is only my second competition on return,” said Taher. “I am really pleased with the win. The conditions were ideal and I enjoyed it a lot,” added the 29-year-old.
Saudi Arabia unleashed a surprise winner in the men’s 1500 with Imed Hamed Noor who timed his charge to perfection. Two Qataris – Mohamad Al-Garni and Hamza Driouch – set the pace in the entertaining race with Iran’s Sajad Moradi and Bahrain’s Bilal Mansour Ali staying in the mix.
The Qataris led at the bell but Noor hit the front with 300 metres left.
Just as a sharp spell of rain drenched the venue, the tall Saudi moved to the front coming into the back straight and had a commanding lead in the home stretch.
Spreading his arms wide and having the luxury of being able to relax 20 metres from the finish, despite the downpour, Noor was a picture of delight as he crossed the line in 3:39.51.
Al-Garni warded off a fast-finishing Ali for the silver medal in 3:40.75 to the Bahrain runner’s 3:40.96.
Betlhem Belayneh Desalegn won United Arab Emirates’ first gold of the championship in the women’s 1500, outwitting Bahrain’s Mimi Belete. Desalegn timed 4:13.67 to Belete’s 4:14.04.
False starts had a say in the way the medals were decided in the 100 hurdles as Japan’s Hitomi Shimura and Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Pilipenk were pulled up for false starts but ran the race under protest, finishing third and fourth, only to be disqualified later. on.
In the end, Japan’s Ayako Kimura was a comfortable winner in 13.25 seconds, finishing ahead of Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Soprunov, in 13.44, after China’s Wang Dou, another strong medal contender, crashed into the second hurdle to bow out.
Uzbekistan’s Ivan Zaytsev, second on the Asian list in Javelin this season behind Japan’s 2009 World bronze medallist Yukifumi Murakami, claimed the gold medal in his specialist event with his first-round throw of 79.76m. Sachith Madhuranga won Sri Lanka’s first medal here, taking the silver in 79.62.
In the absence of Kazakh London 2012 Olympic Games champion Olga Rypakova, Uzbekistan’s Anastasiya Juravlyeva pocketed the women’s Triple Jump gold with an effort of 14.18m with her compatriot Aleksandra Kotlyarova taking the silver at 13.89m.
China remains in top spot on the medals table with eight gold medals after three days of competition. Bahrain are in second place with four gold medals.
A correspondent for the IAAF