BusanWith just the men’s Marathon to be run on the final day of competition at the Asian Games on Monday, China have won one gold less than last time these continental Games were held. India with seven, have five more wins than at Bangkok in 1998.
On the track, or rather on the road, it was North Korean Ham Bong Sil who was 8th at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, who cornered the glory by winning her country’s first medal in these championships, the gold in the women’s Marathon.
In a field of just 11 runners, Ham Bong Sil, broke away from Japan’s Harumi Hiroyama nearing 25 km and never looked back. The Japanese entered the stadium just as Ham Bong Sil was finishing the gruelling event in 2:33:35. Hiroyama clocked 2:34:44, while another Japanese, Hiromi Ominami won the bronze in 2:37:48. China’s Liu Min, one of the favourites, did not finish.
The North Korean who also took the 5000m and 10,000m track double at the Asian Championships in Colombo in August, confirmed that when she “was passing 32km, I was thinking that the Great Leader Kim Jong Il was looking at me and I was able to finish the race well. “
On the track, the Indians ran away with the women’s 4x400m relay gold, but it was China, as was to be expected, who called the shots on Sunday, taking three of the eight gold medals at stake.
China’s World Junior champion Wu Tao took the men’s Discus, a competition in which India’s Anil Kumar lead up until the fifth round. It was at the point that Tao forged ahead with a throw of 60.76. Iranian Abbas Samimi also crossed 60 metres in the same round and finally took the silver with a sixth-round throw of 60.44 metres. Anil Kumar could not improve upon his second round effort of 59.81 metres and was a disappointed man. More disappointing was the fourth-place finish by Asian champion Rashid Shafi Al-Dossari of Qatar. He had led the season’s lists with his Colombo mark of 64.43, but today he could not go beyond 59.15m.
The other two Chinese gold’s came as Huang Qiyuan, the only woman in the Triple Jump field with a 14-metre-plus best, bettered the Games record by one centimetre while jumping 14.28 for victory, and via their women’s sprint relay quartet who won in 43.84 seconds.
The women’s High Jump competition, in which two silvers were awarded, found the favourite Tatiana Effimenko of Kyrgyzstan in a spot of bother at 1.88. She failed on her first two attempts but cleared smoothly on her last but by then, only two others, India’s Bobby Aloysius and Kazakhstan’s Marina Korzhova were left in the fray. Japanese Yoko Ota, who could have been expected to stretch the favourites, ended at 1.80.
Both Aloysius and Korzhova cleared 1.88 on their first attempts, but both failed at 1.90. That height was cleared effortlessly by Effimenko on her first attempt, and the Kyrgyzstan woman was the winner without further trouble, just as she had won the Asian Championships title in Colombo. The jumpers were distracted by the constant din and rattle produced by a band in the stands next to the high jump pit, and despite requests by Aloysius and Korzhova to stop playing, the band continued its merry beat.
Thailand surprised Japan in the men’s 4x100m relay final. Thailand's last gold medals in athletics were won at the Asian Games in Bangkok in 1978.
“We're overjoyed,” sprinter Seeharwong said, and continued, “I thought we could beat Japan. We were able to exchange the baton easily.”
Japan's star sprinter Nobuharu Asaharu commented, “we expected China, not Thailand. Thailand was a surprise.” Japan has had a poor Asian Games athletics, finishing with just two gold medals.
Saudi Arabia won the men’s 4x400m gold, ahead of India and Sri Lanka.
By an IAAF Correspondent and Agencies
Selected Results -
Discus: 1. Wu Tao (Chn) 60.76, 2. Abbas Samimi (Iri) 60.44, 3. Anil Kumar (Ind) 59.81.
4x100m relay:1. Thailand (Reanchai Siharwong, Vasanu Sophanich, Ekkchai Junthana, Sittichai Suwornprateep) 38.82, 2. Japan (Hisashi Miyazaki, Shingo Suetsugu, Hiroyasu Tsuchie, Nobuhara Asahara) 38.90, 3. China (Shen Yunbao, Chen Haijian, Yin Hanzhao, Han Chaoming) 39.09.
4x400m relay: 1. Saudi Arabia (Hamed Al Bishi, Haadi S. Al-Somaily, Mohammed Al Salhi, Hamdan O. Al Bishi) 3:02.47, 2. India (P. Ramachandran, K. J. Manojlal, Satbir Singh, Bhupinder Singh) 3:04.22, 3. Sri Lanka (Rohan Pradeep Kumara, R. K. W.A. Waruna, Prasnna Amarasekhara, Sugath Tillakeratne) 3:04.37.
High jump: 1. Tatiana Effimenko (Kgz) 1.90, 2. Bobby Aloysius (Ind) and Marina Korzhova (Kaz) 1.88.
Triple jump:1. Huang Qiuyan (Chn) 14.28 , 2. Zhang Hao (Chn) 13.89, 3. Tatyana Bocharova (Kaz) 13.26.
Marathon: 1. Ham Bong Sil (Prk) 2:33:35, 2. Harumi Hiroyama (Jpn) 2:34:44, 3. Hiromi Ominami (Jpn) 2:37:48.
4x100m:1. China (Zeng Xiujun, Yan Jiankui, Huang Mei, Qin Wangping) 43.84, 2. Thailand (Jutamas Tawoncharoen, Orranut Klomdee, Trecia Roberts) 44.25, 3. Uzbekistan (Anna Kazakova, Guzel Khubbieva, Luudmila Dmitriadi, Lyubov Perepelova) 44.59.
4x400m:1. India (Jincy Philip, Manjit Kaur, Soma Biswas, K. M. Beenamol) 3:30.84, Kazakhstan (Tatyana Rsolanova, Natalya Torshina, Olga Tereshkova, Svetlana Bodritskaya) 3:31.72, 3. China (Qin Wangping, Bo Fanfang, Hou Xiufen, Chen Yuxiang) 3:32.43.