Ehsan Hadadi posted a championship record of 65.38 while successfully defending his Discus Throw title on the third day of the Asian Athletics Championships at the Amman International Stadium here yesterday (27).
The 22-year-old Iranian, who had registered an Asian record of 67.96 metres last month, led the contest after a third-round throw of 64.55 and asserted his superiority further with a final round effort of 65.38 metres. He replaced his own record of 65.25, also a continental mark two years ago, achieved in the last championships at Incheon, Korea.
The Discus Throw competition did not have the presence of the best Chinese, Wu Tao or the Saudi Arabian Sultan Mubarak Al-Dawoodi who had touched a distance of 64.55 metres last year. However, it had the rest of the top-notchers from the continent. Rashid Al-Dosari of Qatar (63.49) and Iranian Abbas Samimi (61.29) took the other medals.
The US-based Indian, Vikas Gowda, who has 64.96 this season and was No. 2 in the Asian lists coming into these championships, finished fourth with 60.91.
Strong winds hamper track events and jumps
Top-drawer performances were at a premium on yet another windy day. The runners and the jumpers struggled to cope with the strong winds that swept through the stadium throughout the afternoon.
"The wind was terrible on the back-straight," said women's 400-metre winner Chitra K. Soman. The Indian won her maiden Asian title, clocking a modest 53.01 seconds with Japanese Asami Tanno taking the silver.
Tanno made it a close battle until 50 metres from the finish. From there on she could not match the long-striding Indian. The Japanese, season leader at 52.17, had the silver in 53.20. Menaka Wickramasinghe of Sri Lanka came up with a surprise to take the bronze (54.11) ahead of Chinese Zhai Lin and defending champion Manjeet Kaur of India.
Sri Lanka had a profitable day with Prasanna Amarasekara winning the men's 400 metres gold in 46.71. Beaten by India's K. M. Binu in the heats, Amarasekara, a Sri Lankan Armyman, came back strongly in the final to claim his first Asian title. In a tight finish, Binu was pushed to the fourth slot by Iranians Reza Bouzar (46.90) and Mohammed Akefian (46.93).
Yevgeniy Meleshenko of Kazakhstan won the 400m Hurdles gold, holding off Japanese Yosuke Tsushima and Indian Joseph Abraham. The three were placed almost level up to the seventh hurdle, where Meleshenko gained a little over the Japanese, while Abraham, after having spoilt his rhythm by running a little too fast in the first half, checked and lost precious time.
Abraham, who won India's first medal in this event in the championships history, was terribly disappointed that he had allowed a man whom he had beaten twice last month in the Asian Grand Prix series, to take the gold. Worse, he could not get the silver even in what turned out to be a slow race.
The highs and the lows of standards in the Steeplechases
Qataris Zakaria Kameel Ali and Moustafa Shebto looked to have the 3000m Steeplechase under their control, but Saudi Arabian Ali Ahmad Al-Amri had other ideas. He kicked hard coming off the last water jump and held off a charging Zakaria Ali over the final 50 metres. Al-Amri's gold came in 8:40.25.
The sight of Jordanian Marwan Bara'h and Iranian Ebrahimy Mojavery negotiating the barriers, either climbing on top or using hands to support their clearance, brought the women's steeplechase event into sharper focus than it would have been in the normal case. Chinese Zhao Yanni (10:48.18) won but the Jordanian and Iranian had easy medal pickings despite clocking over 12 minutes.
Kazakh Olga Rypakova snatched the women’s Long Jump gold away from Indian Anju George with a last-round jump of 6.66m which was just a centimetre over what the Indian did in the opening round. It was sweet revenge for Rypakova as George had taken the silver away from her at the Doha Asian Games where Japanese Kumko Ikeda had won. Ikeda was absent from yestersday’s competition.
The winds played havoc in this competition with George getting a 4.3m/s wind for her silver-winning jump. Rypakova as well as Korean Jung-Soon Ok, who claimed the bronze, were also aided by wind speeds of above 2.0m/s.
"It was difficult to adjust my run-up and speed and compete out there, for, the winds were just letting us fly," said George. She will have to wait for a 6.60 mark without the aid of wind to qualify for the Osaka World Championships. She had one of 6.57 within allowable wind-speed, but that still fell short of her target.
The men's Pole Vault competition, with Sergey Bubka, World record holder and IAAF Council Member, watching from the VIP stands, did not reach any dizzy heights. Iranian Mohammed Mohsen Rabbani won at 5.35m after Japanese Masfumi Moribe and Chinese Yang Quan, two of the stronger contenders, no-heighted at 5.10 and 5.00 respectively.
A minute's silence
Before the afternoon session began, a minute's silence was observed in memory of Elizabeth Liau Siew Chin Nicholas, wife of the Secretary of the Asian Athletics Association, Maurice Nicholas, who passed away in Singapore on Friday.
By an IAAF Correspondent
Results (27 July)
400m : 1. Prasanna Amarasekara (Sri) 46.71, 2. Reza Bouzar (Iri) 46.90, 3. Mohammaed Aefian (Iri) 46.93.
3000m Steeplechase : 1. Ali Ahmad Ali-Amri (KSA) 8:40.25, 2. Zakaria Kameel Ali (Qat) 8:40.49 , 3. Moustafa Ahmed Shebto (Qat) 8:47.99.
400m Hurdles : 1. Yevgeniy Meleshenko (Kaz) 50.01, 2. Yosuke Tsushima (Jpn) 50.14, 3. Joseph Abraham ( Ind) 50.28.
Pole Vault : 1. Mohammed Mohsen Rabbani (Iri 5.35, 2. Kim Do-Kyun (Kor) 5.25, 3. Suzuki Takafumi (Jpn) 5.10.
Discus Throw : 1. Ehsan Hadadi (Iri) 65.38 (CR), 2. Rashid Shafi Al-Dosari (Qat) 63.49, 3. Abbas Samimi (Iri) 61.29.
400m : 1. Chitra Soman (Ind) 53.01, 2. Asami Tanno (Jpn) 53.20, 3. Menaka Wickramasinghe (Sri) 54.11.
100m Hurdles : 1. Mami Ishino (Jpn) 13.26, 2. He Liyuan (Chn) 13.31, 3. Lee Yeon-Kyong (Kor) 13.50.
3000m Steeplechase : 1. Zhao Yanni (Chn) 10:48.18, 2. Marwan Bara'h (Jor) 12:03.04, 3. Ebrahimy Leila Mojavery (Iri) 12:14.40.
400m Hurdles : 1. Satomi Kubokura (Jpn) 56.74, 2. Ruan Zhuofen (Chn) 57.63, 3. Galina Pdean (Kgz) 59.13.
Long Jump : 1. Olga Rypakova (Kaz) 6.66w, 2. Anju B. George (Ind) 6.65w, 3. Jung Soon-Ok (Kor) 6.60w.