On a day of championship records, young Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim stood out in the 19th Asian Athletics Championships here on Saturday (9).
The Qatari, who turned 20 just 15 days ago, scaled 2.35m to set a national record, his third for the season, and said he was looking forward to doing well, possibly aim for the gold, at the World Championships in Daegu, Korea, next month.
The World junior champion last year, Barshim, has been on a record-setting spree this season. Today he seemed to relish the conditions, as he was to admit later, scaling every height from 2.15m to 2.33m on his first attempts after a bit of a fumble at his starting height of 2.10m.
As he floated over the bar and came down well clear, at 2.35m on his second attempt, the best crowd for the championships yet, applauded a superb feat. Barshim pumped his fists and acknowledged the cheers. Korean Lee Jin-Taek’s 1995 championships record of 2.32m was bettered earlier itself, but more significantly Barshim had conquered another new height this season.
He had set a national record-equalling mark of 2.31m while coming third in the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Doha in May, and had further stretched that record to 2.32m while winning in Ystad, Sweden, on June 19. Today he joined two others this season at the second bes mark behind American Jesse Williams' 2.37m.
Barshim alone was not the man who was overjoyed at the high jump pit today. Syrian Majid El Dien Ghazal who took the silver at 2.28m also bettered his country’s national record twice during the course of the competition. The bronze went to Wang Chenof China at 2.26m.
Champs’ 5000m records fall
Three other championship records were bettered. Both the 5000m contests brought in new records and there was one in men’s Shot Put also when Chinese Taipei’s Chang Ming-Huang first nailed it at 20.04m and then finally, with his last throw, reached 20.14m.
Chang was jumping for joy around the Shot Put circle as he came up with his final throw.
“I have got only second and third places before, so I am very happy,” said Chang. “It is difficult to throw over 20 metres by the third attempt, but today I could accomplish that,” said the Taipei man who had a previous season best of 20.06m. He has a personal best of 20.37m.
The man whose record Chang bettered, Indian Om Prakash Singh (19.47m), had to settle for the bronze behind Chinese Zhang Jun (19.77m). Om Prakash’s gold happened to be India’s solitary one at the last championships in 2009.
Dejene Regassa Mootoma, a 22-year-old Bahraini of Ethiopian origin, who was fourth in the last Asian Games, spoiled the Japanese plans by sprinting away to the 5000m gold in a new championship record of 13:39.71 that bettered India Bahadur Prasad’s mark of 13:41.70 set in 1993.
Once again, the Japanese were found wanting towards the end, content most of the while to allow the Bahrainis to set the pace and hang back and wait. The other Bahrain man in the race, Aleme Bekle Gebre, also a former Ethiopian, was beaten on the straight by Japanese Yuki Sato whose finishing kick was not good enough to rattle Regassa but was powerful enough to push Gebre behind.
Bahrain won the women’s 5000m title also. Tejitu Daba Chalchissa clocked a meet record of 15:22.48 while beating two Japanese, Hitomi Niiya and Yuriko Kobayashi. The Bahraini, fourth at the World Junior last year, had broken away with over four and a half laps to go and she did not have any problem after that. The previous record of 15:25.65 was set by Ma Junren protege Wang Junxia in 1995.
Indian Kavita Raut, who had won the bronze at the Asian Games, could manage only the eighth place (16:23.06) this time.
Women’s Triple Jump produced a high-class contest despite the absence of continental record holder Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan. Chinese Xie Limei, 2005 Asian champion and 2006 Asian Games champion, took the gold in a season best 14.54m.
Uzbek Valeriya Kanatova took the silver at 14.14m while Indian Mayookha Johny, who won the Long Jump gold on the first day, claimed the bronze with 14.11m, a centimeter above the qualification mark for the Worlds as well as the London Olympics.
Johny was elated that she at last had the standard that she had aimed for in Long Jump also without success.
In the 400m Hurdles, Japan could have produced its first one-two-three sweep had not Takayuki Kishimoto been disqualified for a false start. That happened to be one of the two disqualifications in that race, the other being Qatari Hassan Aman Salmeen.
Japanese Takatoshi Abe and Yuka Imezaki won the gold and silver in 49.64 and 50.22 respectively. Kishimoto had led the season charts with 49.27.
By an IAAF correspondent
Leading Results -
5000m: 1. Dejene Regassa Mootoma (Brn) 13:39.71 (CR), 2. Yuki Sato (Jpn) 13:40.78, 3. Alemu Bekele Gebre (Brn) 13:41.93.
400m hurdles: 1. Takatoshi Abe (Jpn) 49.64, 2. Yuta Imazeki (Jpn) 50.22, 3. Chen Chieh (Chn) 50.39.
High jump: 1. Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qat) 2.35 (CR), 2. Majid El Dein Ghazal (SYR) 2.28, 3. Wang Chen (Chn) 2.26.
Shot put: 1. Chang Ming-Huang (Tpe) 20.14 (CR), 2. Zhang Jun (Chn) 19.77, 3. Om Prakash Karhana (Ind) 19.47.
Hammer: 1. Ali Mohammed Al-Zankawi (Kuw) 73.73, 2. Hiroshi Noguchi (Jpn) 70.89, 3. Hiroaki Doi (Jpn) 70.69;
5000m: 1. Tejitu Daba Chalchissa (Brn) 15:22.48 (CR), 2. Hitomi Niiya (Jpn) 15:34.19, 3. Yuriko Kobayashi (Jpn) 15:42.59.
400m hurdles: 1. Satomi Kubokura (Jpn) 56.52, 2. Yang Qi (Chn) 56.69, 3. Christine Merril (Sri) 57.30.
Triple jump: 1. Xie Limei (Chn) 14.54, 2. Valeriya Kanatova (Uzb) 14.14, 3. Mayookha Johny (Ind) 14.11.
Pole vault: 1. Wu Sha (Chn) 4.35, 2. Li Ling (Chn) 4.30, 3. Yunhee Choi (Kor) 4.00.
Heptathlon: 1. Wassana Winatho (Tha) 5710 pts, 2. Humie Takehara (Jpn) 5491, 3. Chie Kiriyama (Jpn) 5442.