27 June 2008Korat, ThailandThe race for the Beijing Olympics relay spots drew the best out of India, China and Thailand, resulting in a string of season bests as the second leg of the Asian Grand Prix circuit was gone through here on Thursday (26).
The Asian Grand Prix 2008 is one of a select group of Area meetings at which points can be acquired by athletes to qualify for the IAAF / VTB Bank World Athletics Final, to be held on 13-14 September in Stuttgart, Germany.
The Indian women's 4x400m quartet, looking to leapfrog from its 21st position in the relay rankings, clocked a fabulous 3:28.29 that all but assured the team of a place in the top 16 of the world that will make it to Beijing.
It was an unbelievable result from a team that had timed 3:32.55 just three days earlier at Bangkok.
India dominates Men’s and women’s 4x400m relays
Without the injured National record holder Manjeet Kaur, India fielded the same team that came first in the opening leg, Satti Geetha, Chitra Soman, M. R. Poovamma and Mandeep Kaur.
Coupled with its Bangkok performance, India, which clocked its best since the Athens Olympic Games (3:26.89) on Thursday, has an average of 3:30.42 while China, which came second, timed 3:29.75, its best in many years, thereby strengthening its chances of figuring in the event at home.
The 14th best team at the moment, Italy, has an average of 3:30.98 while China has 3:30.94.
The men's 4x400m relay also produced excellent timings, with India clocking its best in a decade, a 3:04.57 that outclassed a modest field. Bibin Mathew, K. M. Binu, Bhupinder Singh and S. K. Mortaza comprised the Indian team. Thailand's 3:06.05 for second place, its best in a long time, was also an equally impressive effort.
With today's timing, India, which was way down the order till now, can nurse hopes of gaining a Beijing berth in case it repeats its performance in the last leg at Hanoi, Vietnam.
China’s 4x100 squad aiming at Beijing appearance
The top three clocked season bests in the men's 4x100, with China (Zhang Peimeng, Hu Kai, Lu Bin, Wen Yongyi) coming into Olympic qualification reckoning with a 38.81, followed by Thailand (38.94) which is already in the top-16 list at the moment.
Not to be left behind in the furious race towards Olympic qualification, the women's sprint relay also returned some top-class timings. China and Thailand posted their bests for the season, 43.26 and 43.38 respectively.
China is more or less assured of a place in the Olympic line-up while after Thursday Thailand should also fancy its chances.
Not just about the relays
Though there were a few improved performances compared to the first leg, by and large individual events continued to be ordinary.
Yevgeniy Ektov, the 21-year-old Kazakh had a huge personal best in triple jump, crashing through the 17-metre barrier and vaulting to the top of the Asian lists for the season with a jump of 17.07.
The winning jump came on his last attempt and was aided by a wind-speed of 1.4m/s. Back home at Almaty, just 19 days earlier, Ektov had registered his previous best of 16.70 metres.
Looking to reach at least the 'B' standard for Olympic qualification, India’s Amarjeet Singh failed by just three centimetres while gaining the second place at 16.77 metres, ahead of first-leg winner Roman Valiyev of Kazakhstan (16.66).
India's Renjith Maheswary, the Asian champion, whose place in the Olympic team could be under review, came fourth with 16.30 metres.
Irina Litvinenko of Kazakhstan was down to 13.88 in women's triple jump from her 14.33 in Bangkok three days earlier, while Indian Anju George was marginally better than the first leg with a 6.45 that belied her expectations and raised a question mark over her Olympic preparations.
George had two fouls to start with and that sort of pegged her back. From 6.22 she hauled herself up to 6.45 in the final round, in between committing another foul.
Those who won both the legs were: Men: Liang Jiahong (China, 100m), Prasanna Amarasekara(Sri Lanka, 400m), Yin Jing (China, 110m hurdles), Wang Chen (China, high jump) and Qin Qiang (China, javelin); women: Guzel Khubbieva (Uzbekistan, 100m), Truong Than Hang (Vietnam, 1500m), Anna Ustinova (Kazakhstan, high jump), Anju B. George (India, long jump), Irina Litvinenko (Kazakhstan, triple jump), Li Ling (China, shot put) and Li Yanfeng (China, discus).
Race 'A' 100m: 1.Liang Jiahong (Chn)10.35, 2.Suryo Agung Wibowo (Ina) 10.40, 3. Ranapati Dewage Umanga (Sri)10.55.
Race 'B': 1. Lai Chun Ho (Hkg) 10.39, 2. Vyacheslav Murayev (Kaz) 10.54, 3. Oleg Juravlyev (Uz) 10.57.
400m: 1. Prasanna Amarasekara (Sri) 46.51, 2. Rohita Pushpakumara (Sri) 46.61, 3. Pojaroen Jukkatip (Tha) 46.65.
1500m: 1. Naresh Yadav (Ind)3:49.98, 2. Sandeep Karan Singh (Ind)3:50.10, 3. Yu Zhiyang (Chn) 3:50.33.
5000m: 1. Ajay Kumar Patel (Ind)14:08.42, 2. Kashinath Aswale (Ind)14:08.45, 3. Julius Semona(Phi) 15:00.07.
110m hurdles: 1.Yin Jing (Chn)13.72, 2. Suphan Wonsriphuck (Tha) 13.90, 3. Oleg Normatov (Uzb) 13.91.
High Jump: 1. Wang Chen (Chn)2.21, 2. Hari Shankar Roy (Ind)2.18, 3. Tsao Chih-Hao (Tpe)2.14.
Triple Jump: 1. Yevgeniy Ektov (Kaz) 17.07, 2. Amarjeet Singh (Ind) 16.77, 3. Roman Valiyev (Kaz) 16.66.
Shot Put: 1. Grigoriy Kamulya (Uzb)18.26, 2. Satyendra Singh (Ind)17.97, 3. Polyemg Chatchawal (Tha) 17.31.
Javelin: 1. Qin Qiang (Chn)74.62, 2. Anil Singh (Ind) 72.63, Imran Muhammad (Pak) 72.14.
4x100m: 1. China 38.81, 2. Thailand 38.94, 3. India 39.70.
4x400m relay: 1. India 3:04.57, 2. Thailand 3:06.05, 3. Sri Lanka 3:08.70.
Race 'A': 100m: 1. Guzel Khubbieva (Uzb) 11.46, 2. Vu Thi Huong (Vie) 11.57, 3. Chen Jie (Chn) 11.65. Race 'B': 1. H. M. Jyothi (Ind) 11.88, 2. Han Ling (Chn) 11.96, 3. Sheena Atilano (Phi) 12.30.
400m: 1. Marina Maslenko (Kaz) 51.41, 2. Chandrika Subashini Rasanayake (Sri) 52.36, 3. Anna Gavryshenko (Kaz) 53.12.
1500m: 1. Truong Thanh Hang (Vie) 4:15.41, 2. Svetlana Lukasheva (Kaz) 4:16.93, 3. Tini Budiarti (Ina) 4:21.44.
High Jump: 1. Anna Ustinova (Kaz) 1.91, 2. Noeng-Ruthai Chaipech (Tha)and Yeketerina Yevseyeva (Kaz) 1.89.
Long Jump: 1. Anju B. Geoge (Ind)6.45, 2. Dinara Belyayeva (Kaz) 6.33, 3. Marstella Torres (Phi)6.29.
Triple Jump: 1. Irina Litvinenko (Kaz) 13.88, 2. Yelena Parfyonova (Kaz) 13.82, 3. Thitima Muangjan (Tha)13.75.
Shot Put: 1. Li Ling (Chn)17.90, 2. Zhang Guirong (Sin)16.77, 3. Iolanta Ulyeva (Kaz)16.49.
Discus:1. Li Yanfeng (Chn)61.32, 2. Sun Taifeng (Chn)58.68, 3. Harwant Kaur (Ind)58.58.
4x100m: 1. China 43.26, 2. Thailand 43.38, 3. India 45.07.
4x400m:1. India 3.28.29, 2. China 3:29.75, 3. Thailand 3:38.76.
By An IAAF Correspondent