Bhopal, IndiaIndian javelin thrower Anil Singh cornered the glory on a wet day's programme in the second Asian All-Stars athletic meet on Thursday (18) with a National record of 80.72m.
It was the first time that an Indian had breached the 80-metre barrier in a competition, though, way back in 1998, Ramandeep Singh had thrown to a distance of 80.56m during the trials to pick the Indian team for the Asian Games. That mark was not ratified as the National record since the trials did not meet the requirements for a recognized competition. Anil Singh's effort on Thursday will replace Satbir Singh's decade-old record of 79.68 metres, registered in Calcutta.
Anil Singh's 80.72 also topped the Asian lists for the season, pushing Japanese Yukifumi Murakami (79.71) to the second spot. The 23-year-old Indian, an employee of the Railways Department, hailing from the Northern State of Haryana, took just two throws, 78.04 and 80.72 before sitting out the rest of the competition.
"My elbow was paining and I decided to rest it rather than aggravate the pain," said Singh. He had undergone a surgery on his right elbow eight years ago.
Against such a fine effort, Japanese Kazuki Yamomoto, 12th in the continental lists (75.16m) before Thursday's competition, could not respond and with a best of 75.06, claimed the silver. Indian Sandeep Yadav was the bronze winner with 70.18.
Overall, Indians dominate
With many of the confirmed Asian toppers not turning up at the last moment, Indian athletes had a field day, winning nine of the 18 events, worth 1500 dollars each, apart from claiming a bagful of minor medals. The silver and bronze medals fetched 800 dollars and 500 dollars respectively.
It was unfortunate that quite a number of top-level Asian stars who were expected to figure in the meet decided to skip it at the last moment, causing disappointment to a sizeable gathering at the Tatia Tope Nagar Stadium that had braved inclement weather. Rains, starting overnight, though they stayed away for the better part of the afternoon's schedule, came down heavily towards the end to spoil a few events.
One of the most impressive winners of the day was Anastasiya Soprunova. The 22-year-old Kazakh, after coming second in a photo-finish with Indian H. M. Jyothi and Vietnamese Vu Thi Huong in the women’s 100m, sailed over the hurdles effortlessly for a 13.36 finish in the 100m Hurdles. Significantly, she beat team-mate Natalya Ivoninskaya, one of the two Asians to have gone below 13 seconds this season. Ivoninskaya came second in 13.51 with Filipino Sheena Atilano taking the bronze in 14.07 seconds.
In the women's 100m, the top three were credited with 11.79 seconds, with Jyothi and Soprunova returning personal bests for their gold and silver. Favourite Vu Thi Huong placed third after photo-finish judges separated the medallists taking the thousandth second into consideration.
Asian Games champion Olga Tereshkova of Kazahstan was pushed to the fourth place in the women's 400m as Japanese Asami Tanno, Asian silver medallist in Amman last year, won in 53.00 seconds. Kazakh Marina Maslenko (Asian topper this season with 51.41s) and Indian Satti Geetha took the minor medals. The top Indians this season, Mandeep Kaur (51.74s) and Manjeet Kaur (52.08) were not chosen by the Indian federation.
In a three-woman field in the 800m, Kazakhstan's Margarita Matsko overhauled Indian Tintu Luka over the last 30 metres in winning with a time of 2:05.84. Luka, a trainee of P. T. Usha, timed 2:05.89 after having led well into the home straight.
"Her opening lap of around 61 seconds spoilt her chance," said Usha, the most bemedalled Indian athlete in the continental level. "I was expecting a personal best apart from the gold," the sprint queen of yesteryear added. Luka, a promising 19-year-old talent, had recently clocked a PB of 2:04.94.
Running in the rain, Sinimole Paulose, the reigning Asian champion, kicked home comfortably on the finishing straight in the women's 1500m, quelling the challenge of Vietnamese Truong Thanh Hang. Paulose had beaten Hang in the Asian Championships in Amman also after having lost to the Vietnamese in the 800m.
Vietnamese Bui Thi Nhing pulled off a surprise in women's High Jump, upstaging joint Asian record holder (1.98m) Yekaterina Yevseyeva of Kazakhstan. The 25-year-old Vietnamese cleared 1.88 on her first attempt but failed at 1.91, while the Kazakh who shares the Asian record with Uzbek Nadezhda Dusanova, failed at 1.88. Dusanova, incidentally, though entered, did not turn up.
Indian record holder Joseph Abraham had the satisfaction of beating a competitive field in the men's 400m Hurdles, clocking 50.88 seconds. The Indian, a semifinalist at the World Championships in Osaka, was looking to better his National record of 49.51. Japanese Yosuke Tsushima, who led up to the last hurdle, could not match Abraham's flat speed over the final 40 metres and settled for the silver in 51.18.
"I will have to wait for next year to better my timing. Of course next year will also have the added incentive of preparing for the World Championships," said Abraham.
Japanese Hikaru Tsuchiya upset Asian champion Lee Hup Wei in the men's High Jump where the top three were tied at 2.18m. Count-back showed the Japanese had cleared 2.15 on his second attempt while the Malaysian had failed twice before opting for 2.18 on his third. Indian record holder Hari Sankar Roy took the bronze.
Among the prominent pull-outs at the last minute were Chinese triple jumper Li Yanxi and woman’s discus thrower Song Aimin.
By An IAAF Correspondent
Leading results -
100m: 1. B. G. Nagraj (Ind)10.52, 2. Abdul Najeeb Qureshi (Ind) 10.56, Ganesh Satpute (Ind) 10.64.
400m: 1. Mitsuhiro Abiko (Jpn) 46.23, 2. Prasanna Amarasekara (Sri) 46.47, 3. Virender Kumar Pankaj (Ind) 47.10.
800m: 1. Sajeesh Joseph (Ind) 1:48.93, 2. S. Prakash Verma (Ind) 1:49.73, 3. Ghamanda Ram (Ind) 1:51.01.
5000m: 1. Surendra Kumar Singh (Ind) 14:25.68, 2. Sandeep Bathum (Ind) 14:26.22, 3. Ajay Kumar (Ind) 14:28.05.
400m hurdles: 1. Joseph Abraham (Ind) 50.88, 2. Yosuke Tsushima (Jpn) 51.18, 3. Avin Thomas (Ind) 51.75.
High jump: 1. Hikaru Tsuchiya (Jpn) 2.18, 2. Lee Hup Wei (Mas) 2.18, 3. Hari Sankar Roy (Ind) 2.18.
Triple jump: 1. Yevgeniy Ektov (Kaz) 16.32, 2. Ko Dae Young (Kor) 16.25, 3. Amarjeet Singh (Ind) 16.03.
Shot put: 1. Om Prakash 18.68 (Ind), 2. Saurabh Vij (Ind) 18.14, 3. Grigoriy Kamulya (Uzb) 17.5.
Discus: 1. Mahmood Samimi (Pak) 58.55, 2. Mohammad Samimi (Iri) 51.69, 3. Smranjit Singh (Ind) 51.68.
Javelin: 1. Anil Singh (Ind) 80.72, 2. Kazuki Yamomoto (Jpn) 75.06, 3. Sandeep Yadav (Ind) 73.78.
100m: 1. H. M. Jyothi (Ind) 11.79, 2. Anastasya Soprunova (Kaz) 11.79, 3. Vu Thi Huong (Vie) 11.79.
400m: 1. Asami Tanno (Jpn) 53.00, 2. Marina Maslenko (Kaz) 53.04, 3. Satti Geetha (Ind)53.86.
800m: 1. Margarita Matsko (Kaz) 2:05.84, 2. Tintu Luka (Ind) 2:05.89, 3. Sangeeta Yadav (Ind) 2:21.08.
1500m: 1. Sinimole Paulose (Ind) 4:21.13, 2. Truong Thanh Hang (Vie) 4:22.82; Jhuma Khatun (Ind)4:36.82.
100m hurdles: 1. Anastasiya Soprunova (Kaz) 13.36, 2. Natalya Ivoninskaya (Kaz) 13.51, 3. Sheena Atilano (Phi) 14.07.
High jump: 1. Bui Thi Nhing (Vie) 1.88, 2. Yekaterina Yevseyeva (Kaz) 1.85, 3. Kavya Muthanna (Ind) 1.70.
Long jump: 1. N. C. D. Priyadharshani (Sri) 61.17, 2. Mayookha Johny (Ind) 6.16, 3. Thitima Muangjan (Tha) 6.1.
Discus: 1. Saroj Sihag (Ind) 52.13, 2. Krishna Poonia (Ind) 51.78, 3. Amanpreet Kaur (Ind) 44.77.