As expected hosts China dominated the proceedings on the opening day of 5th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in Hangzhou, China on Saturday (18) by claiming the top honours in seven out of the eleven finals held.
Elsewhere, Iranians Reza Bouazar and Maryam Toosi took the golds in the men’s and women’s 400m respectively. Bouazar, the silver medallist in the last edition of the championships at home in Tehran two years ago was challenged by the host nation’s Chang Pengben. However experience was on the side of the Iranian as he powered to victory in the last 50m well ahead of the Chinese to finish in 48.09 secs. Toosi also faced a similar challenge from Chen Jingwen of China but a strong finish saw her win and improve her Area season's best to 53.85.
Leading the seven winners from China were high jumper Zheng Xingjuan and Long jumper Li Jinzhe.
Zheng Xingjuan, fifth at the last World Indoor championships sailed over 1.92m comfortably for the gold. However her intention to better defending champion Marina Aitova’s meet mark of 1.93m did not materialise as she failed in her all three attempts at 1.95m.
East Asian Games champion Li Jinzhe started badly as he failed to record any valid mark in the first two rounds. However, he assured top place with his fourth round 7.73m and consolidated it further with a last round 7.98m to win the event. Japan’s Rikiya Saruyama, the defending champion in this event, settled for the silver medal with 7.63m, while Indian teenager Kumaravel Premkumar took the bronze medal just 1 cm behind him. Lin Qing, last year’s World Youth champion, also jumped 7.62m but placed fourth on tie-break.
Indian junior champion Premkumar, who hails from a poor family, recorded 7.92m at the national trials in Bangalore two weeks ago. In fifth place was Zhang Xiaoyi, who jumped 8.20m mark at the National Grand Prix in Nanjing barely a week ago. Sadly Zhang Xiaoyi, after a second round 7.61m, passed the final three attempts owing to injury.
Chinese hurdlers Jiang Fan (7.74) and Wu Shuijiao (8.24) posted new championship marks to win in the men’s and women’s 60m Hurdles respectively. Jiang Fan, the World Student Games silver medallist at 110m Hurdles, was the first athlete to defend a title in the biennial Area championships where six gold medallists from the 2010 edition are taking part.
Berlin World championship finalist Liu Xiangrong was another athlete to improve a championship best with her 18.37m toss to take the women’s Shot Put gold.
Reigning Asian Games champion Mohamad Othman Shahween of Saudi Arabia and last year’s open area Asian champion Shumi Regasa Gensebi of Bahrain had comfortable wins in the two 1500 metres finals and were the other non-Chinese victors today.
Ram. Murali Krishnan for the IAAF
1. Reza Bouazar IRI 48.09, 2. Chang Pengben CHN 48.47, 3. Amin Ghelichi IRI 48.64
1. Shahween Mohamed Othman KSA 3:57.84, 2. Mohamad Algarni QAT 3:58.04, 3. Omar Al-Rasheedi KUW 3:59.83
1. Jiang Fan CHN 7.74 CR, 2. Almandeel Abdulaziz KUW 7.82, 3. Ji Wei CHN 7.85
1. Yang Yansheng CHN 5.50, 2. Zhang Wei CHN 5.40, 3. Nagata Junya JPN 5.30
1. Li Jinzhe CHN 7.98, 2. Rikiya Saruyama JPN 7.63, 3. Kumaravel Premkumar IND 7.62
1. Maryam Toosi IRI 53.85, 2. Chen Jingwen CHN 54.17, 3. Tang Xiao-yin CHN 55.06
1. Shumi Regasa Gensebi BRN 4:15.85, 2. Belayneh Betlhem UAE 4:16.97, 3. Liu Fang CHN 4:18.32
1. Wu Shuijiao CHN 8.24 CR, 2. Natalya Ivoninskaya KAZ 8.29, 3. Sun Yawei CHN 8.35
1. Zheng Xingjuan CHN 1.92, 2. Wang Yang CHN 1.88, 3. Duong Thi Viet Anh VIE 1.84
1. Lu Minjia CHN 6.33, 2. Anastassiya Kudinova KAZ 6.23, 3. Wang Wupin CHN 6.22
1. Liu Xiangrong CHN 18.37 CR, 2. Leyla Rajabi IRI 17.51, 3. Meng Qianqian CHN16.13