Incheon, KoreaGao Shuying posted an Asian women’s Pole Vault record of 4.53m as China continued to assert its supremacy on the second day of the 16th Asian Athletics Championships at the Munhak Stadium here today.
Liu Xiang leads China’s seven gold celebrations
China picked up seven gold medals in all, exactly half of the day’s tally, including the expected one by Olympic champion Liu Xiang in the 110m Hurdles. Qatar had three, sweeping the middle and long distance events, while Saudi Arabia had two, including the all-important men’s sprint title, through Yahya Al Ghes.
Gao Shuying bettered her own record of 4.52m, set in Beijing in 2001, on way to the Asian record and the gold. She entered the contest at 4.10, cleared it on her first attempt and then went for 4.30m by which time she was the lone contestant left in the field. She scaled that height, too, and straightaway went for the record.
To a spontaneous round of applause from a sizeable gathering in the 52,000-capacity stadium, Gao went over the bar, came down and did a victory jig.
The 26-year-old Chinese had won the title in 2002 also as well as winning the Busan Asian Games gold. She was fifth at the Helsinki World championships with her season best, till then, of 4.50m.
India spoils China’s hopes of women’s title sweep
The Chinese took all but one of the six women’s gold medals on offer today, one going India’s way through Heptathlete Soma Biswas. There were never too many doubts about Song Aimin nailing the Discus Throw gold (65.15) or Su Yiping winning the 100m Hurdles title or He Dan taking the 20km Race Walk.
However, there could have been some debate over whether Qin Wangping could claim the women’s 100 metres. Without Susanthika Jayasinghe of Sri Lanka or Lyubov Perepelova of Uzbekistan, the field did not have a clear-cut favourite. It was anybody’s race. Uzbek Khubbieva looked like gaining an edge by the half-way mark, but Qin Wangping was too strong at the finish, for a modest 11.47 victory. Khubbieva timed in for second at 11.56 with another Chinese Liang Yi coming in third in 11.62.
Liu Xiang smoothly betters championship record
The Liu Xiang magic was on show for the Koreans to enjoy in the men’s 110m hurdles. The co-holder of the World record of 12.91 with Briton Colin Jackson, went over every hurdle smoothly for a 13.30 finish that bettered countryman Li Tong’s championship record of 13.49 set in 1993. Team-mate Shi Dongpeng, who took the silver, also came under the previous record by clocking 13.44 seconds.
“I am being recognised by more people nowadays,” said Liu Xiang as he looked back on his Busan Asian Games triumph and today’s win in only his second visit to Korea. “I am satisfied with my performance, the track was a bit slippery, but in the end I managed to win,” said the Olympic champion.
Saudi holds down Japanese sprint hopes
Two of the better known Japanese, however tasted defeat against a 19-year-old Saudi Arabian in the men’s 100 metres. In a race that was held up for nearly 20 minutes for some inexplicable reason, keeping everyone edgy, a false start further complicated matters.
Al Ghes still managed a 0.144s reaction time and that mattered a lot in the end in what turned out to be an ordinary race at this level. The Saudi clocked 10.39, while Shingo Suetsugu, the Japanese who won the 200m bronze at the Paris World championships, made a gallant attempt after a poor start, to come second in 10.42. Qatar’s Yousuf Al-Obaidily had the bronze in 10.45, while Japanese Nobuharu Asahara timed a forgettable 10.57 for fourth. Asahara’s reaction time was 0.165s while that of Suetsugu 0.175s.
The cat and mouse game in the 10,000m between the Qataris, Essa Ismail Rashed and Seda Al-Dawood and Saudi Arabian Moukhled Al-Otaibi, ended only during the last 200 metres, with Ismail winning. The 18-year-old Qatari of Kenyan origin, clocked 29:03.60, creditable on another humid day.
Al-Otaibi, the double gold winner in the last Asian Games and the continental record holder for 5000 metres, left his kick a little too late and found that Ismail was too powerful on the straight, especially over the last 50 metres. The second Qatari, Dawood, could not respond to the furious chase that the front two began about 220 metres out, and settled for the bronze.
Shaheen, a no show
World champion and world record holder Saif Saaeed Shaheen, though entered in the original entries sent in by Qatar, was absent in the 3000 metres Steeplechase. Yet, Qatar had a candidate ready to take over the mantle, however temporary it may prove to be. Moussa Omar Obaid, 20, was a fluent winner, in 8:33.62 with team-mate Moustafa Ahmed Shebto taking the silver.
The Qataris looked like making it a one-two in the men’s 1500 metres also, but Iraqi Adian Agar spoilt the party, sneaking up on the back straight to pass Nasser Shams Kareem and then tried to chase down the eventual winner Abubaker Ali Kamal on the home stretch, without success. Kamal’s 3:44.24 was ordinary, though timings hardly matter in such events at championship level. Nasser Shams Kareem the second Qatari was third.
The 1500m of course could have been the race of the meet had the newest World champion, Rashid Ramzi, who was present last time in Manila, come. Even Belal Mansoor Ali, Bahrain’s other prominent metric miler, who was entered, did not make it.
Other than the finals…
In a drama that perhaps added a fresh chapter to athletics, two Indian runners who were not among the confirmed entries for the men’s 800 metres, Ghamanda Ram and P. Francis, were allowed the luxury of a special heat well after the others had finished their chores for the day.
The extra-ordinary decision of the jury was based on an Indian protest that argued that they were unaware of a programme change that advanced the 800 metres heats to the second day instead of the third. They did not reconfirm the entries the previous evening because of this though both runners were among the entries accepted by the organising committee.
The jury ruled that Ghamanda Ram and Francis could run an additional (fourth) heat and if they clocked better than the ‘last two qualifiers’, they could be included in the final on the last day. Ghamanda clocked 1:50.44, after he had run the 1500 metres and placed seventh in that event.
The ‘best non-qualifiers’ in the morning heats of the 800 metres happened to have faster timings of 1:48.75 (Kuwaiti Mohd Al Azemi) and 1:49.86 (Japanese Yoshiro Shimodaira). The jury was yet to give a final verdict after Ghamanda and Francis ran what amounted to a time trial.
By an IAAF Correspondent in Korea
Results of Finals – 2 Sep:
100m: 1. Yahya Al Ghes (KSA) 10.39, 2. Shingo Suetsugu (Jpn) 10.42, 3. Khalid Yousuf Al-Obaidili (Qat) 10.45.
1500m: 1. Abubaker Ali Kamal (Qat) 3:44.24, 2. T. Adian Agar (Irq) 3:44.57, 3. Nasser Shams Kareem (Qat) 3:36.09.
10,000m: 1. Essa Ismail Rashed (Qat) 29:03.60, 2. Moukhled Al-Outaibi (KSA) 29:04.85, 3. Sedam Al-Dawood (Qat) 29:05.93.
3000m steeplechase: 1. Moussa Omar Obaid (Qat) 8:33.62, 2. Moustafa Ahmed Shebto (Qat) 8:40.86, 3. Wu Wen-Chien (Tpe) 8:42.96.
110m Hurdles: 1. Liu Xiang (Chn) 13.30 (CR), 2. Shi Dongpeng (Chn) 13.44, 3. Gandmani Rohollah Asgari (Iri) 13.89.
Long jump: 1. Ahmed Marzoug (KSA) 7.98, 2. Oh Sang Won (Kor) 7.87, 3. Zhou Can (Chn) 7.83.
Hammer Throw: 1. Ali Mohamed Al Zankawi (Kuw) 71.74, 2. Dilshod Nazarov (Tjk) 71.38, 3. Hiroaki Doi (Jpn) 68.50.
20km walk: Lu Ronghua (Chn) 1:25:30, 2. Kim Hyun Sub (Kor) 1:25:41, 3. Zhang Hong (Chn) 1:27:14.
100m: 1. Qin Wangping (Chn) 11.47, 2. Guzel Khubieva (Uzb) 11.56, 3. Liang Yi (Chn) 11.62.
100m Hurdles: 1. Su Yiping (Chn) 13.30, 2. Lee Yeon Kyung (Kor) 13.38, 3. Kumiko Ikeda (Jpn) 13.54.
Pole Vault: 1. Gao Shuying (Chn) 4.53m (Asian record), 2. Chang Ko-Hsin (Tpe) 4.10, 3. Roslinda Samsu (Mas) 4.10.
Discus Throw: 1. Song Aimin (Chn) 65.15 (CR), 2. Sun Taifeng (Chn) 59.09, 3. Krishna Poonia (Ind) 57.67.
Heptathlon: 1. Soma Biswas (Ind) 5377 , 2. Sushmita Singha Roy (Ind) 5308, 3. Masim Watcharaporn (Tha) 5279.
20km walk: 1. He Dan (Chn) 1:34:25, 2. Tang Yinghua (Chn) 1:34.50, 3. Svetlana Tolstaya (Kaz) 1:36:39.