Amman, JordanA 20yearold Qatari, of Nigerian origin, ducked under the 10-second barrier for an Asian record in the short sprint on the second day of the 17th Asian Athletics Championships on Thursday (26).
Samuel A. Francis was not a name that Asians have been familiar with till now. He had attracted attention in the 100m heats on Wednesday with a 10.18 finish that bettered a 14-year-old championship record. Yesterday, every eye was focused on lane 5 where the tall figure of Francis literally towered over the rest.
A false start had many runners wringing their hands in frustration and anxiety before the race was off. Japanese Ueono Masahide, who had clocked a wind-aided 10.16 earlier in the semifinals, challenged the young Qatari up to the half-way stage. After that Francis was running a race of his own, while the others were battling for minor medals.
It was 9.99 seconds for Francis whose previous best, prior to this meet was listed as 10.35. The thousandth of a second reading was 9.986. The technical officials were quick to enquire the wind-reading. On a windy day, this race was an exception; it was only 0.9m/s and as the word spread everybody was talking about the tall Qatari.
The one to go out of the record books will be Koji Ito's 10.00 flat. The Japanese had clocked that in the Asian Games in Bangkok in 1998 when he was declared the 'best sportsman' of the games.
Behind Francis, Masahide took the silver in 10.26, while another Qatari, Alwaleed Abdullah came third in 10.30.
Defending champion Yahya Al-Kahes of Saudi Arabia finished last in 10.44 seconds. The Asian Games champion Yahya Ibrahim Hassan Habeeb had gone out at the semifinal stage, ending fifth in 10.36.
Jayasinghe takes women’s dash
The winds blew whole afternoon, helping some post personal bests, albeit wind-aided, and hampering some as they were pushed back, especially on the back straight. Susanthika Jayasinghe had a tail-wind of 3.1m/s while posting 11.19 while winning the women's 100 metres gold.
The Sri Lankan had no opposition worth the name with Vietnamese Vu Thi Huong coming in 11.33s, also PB, for silver and Chinese Zou Yingting clocking 11.54 for the bronze.
Hassan confirms favourite status
Qatari Abdullah Ahmad Hassan, the continental record holder, allowed Bahrain's Asian Games champion Hassan Mahboob Ali and his team-mate Issa Abedeen Ishaq to do all the front-running before taking charge with two laps to go in the 10,000 metres. He won in 29:45.95. Sedam Al Dawoud, the second Qatari in the field, followed Hassan home for the silver in 29:58.33 while Mahboob finished third in 30:05.12.
Record holder late entry…and 8.16m Long Jump winner
Mohamed Salman Al Khuwalidi of Saudi Arabia, a late entry in Long Jump, won with ease with a wind-aided 8.16m. He had two other jumps of eight metres or more. With team-mate Hussein Taher Al-Sabee pulling out at the last moment, Khuwalidi, the Asian record holder at 8.48 metres, was the clear favourite in the event.
Kuwaiti Saleh Al Haddad, with a last round jump of 8.05m and Chinese Li Runrun with 7.84m, took the silver and bronze respectively. All the medal winners' best attempts were wind-aided with the Kuwaiti getting a tail-wind of 5.2m/s.
Surprise defeat for Indian
Vietnamese Truong Thanh Hang brought off an upset by beating Indian Sinimole Paulose in the women's 800 metres final. The Vietnamese mad her move only on the home bend, leaving the Indian easily behind.
Sinimole said she was pushed back on the final backstraight by a gush of wind and could not react well when the Vietnamese kicked just going into the home straight. Hang clocked 2: 04.77 while Paulose whose personal best is 2:02.02 could manage only 2:06.15. Yet the Indian should be the favourite in the 1500 metres.
The Chinese picked up two more gold medals this day, through women’s shot putter Liu Xiaongruong and male race walker Cui Zhide. Thailand’s Buoban Phamang won the women’s Javelin Throw.
By an IAAF Correspondent
Results: 26 July
100m: 1. Samuel A. Francis (Qat) 9.99 (Asian record), 2. Ueno Masahide (Jpn) 10.26, 3. Alwaleed Abdullah (Qat) 10.30;
10,000m: 1. Abdullah Ahmad Hassan (Qat) 29:45.95, 2. Sedam Ali Dawoud (Qatar) 29:58.33, 3. Hassan Mahboob Ali (Brn) 30:05.12;
Long Jump: 1. Mohammed Salman Al-Khuwailidi (KSA) 8.16w, 2. Saleh Al Haddad (Kuw) 8.05w, 2. Li Runrun (Chn) 7.84w;
20km Race Walk: 1. Cui Zhide (Chn) 1:30:21.30, 2. Shin Il-Yong (Kor) 1:31:33.42, 3. Rustom Kuwalov (Kaz) 1:32:37.56.
100m: 1. Susanthika Jayasinghe (Sri) 11.19, 2. Vu Thi Hong (Vie) 11.33, 3. Zou Yingting (Chn) 11.54;
800m: 1. Truong Thanh Hang (Vie) 2:04.77, 2. Sinimole Paulose (Ind) 2:06.15, 3. Jinouchi Ayako (Jpn) 2:08.75;
Shot Put: 1. Liu Xiangruong (Chn) 17.65, 2. Lee Mi-Young (Kor) 16.58, 3. Lin Chiya-Yin (Tpe) 16.46;
Javelin Throw: 1.Buoban Phamang (Tha) 58.35, 2. Kim Kyong-Ae (Kor) 53.01, 3. Nadeeka Lakmali (Sri) 52.59;
Heptathlon: 1. Irina Naumenko (Kaz) 5617, 2. J. J. Shobha (Ind) 5356, 3. Susmita Singha Roy ( Ind) 5154.