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India takes 800m double at Asian Indoor Games – Day Two

With the best of the Chinese stars opting to stay home after a successful East Asian Games, athletes from India and the Gulf nations cashed in on the opportunity to turn out golden performances on the second day (14) of the Asian Indoor Games at Pattaya, near Bangkok.

2:06 Indian women's indoor 800m record

Ghamanda Ram, the Indian champion, ran a well judged but slow paced race for gold in the men’s 800m, clocking 1:50.69, a national indoor record. Qatar’s Albadri Salam Amer (1:52.27) and Kuwaiti Mohammed Alezami (1:52.40) earned the silver and bronze medals.

However, the day’s main headlines went to his team-mate Shanthi Soundararajan in the women’s 800m. Soundararajan, a rural girl from Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu, made her maiden indoor appearance, running an all-out effort to win gold in 2:06.07.  Her time erased the 20-year-old Indian indoor record of 2:08.09 set by Shiny Abraham in the inaugural World Indoor Games in Paris (1985).  Jing Huang of China, who provided a stiff challenge to the Indian in the initial stages of the race, settled for silver at 2:07.32.  Kazakhstan’s Viktoriya Yalovtseva got the bronze in 2:09.05.

Soundararajan who possesses the potential for longer distances, had won this year’s national middle distance championship at Jamshedpur, and went on to win the 800m and 3000m steeplechase - with a new national mark - at the inter-state championship in Bangalore.

4.31m Pole vault highlight two Chinese wins

Jing Yang dominated the women’s Pole Vault with a 4.31m clearance. There was a tie for the silver medal with both Sunisa Kaoead and Pasuta Wongwieng scaling 3.40m, giving the Thai home crowd something to cheer.

The second Chinese gold of the day came in the women’s 60m Hurdles, where Ji Fanggian (8.37) overpowered Kazakh Natalya Ivoninskaya (8.41) and Thai Trecia Roberts (8.56).

The men’s sprint hurdles was won by the host nation’s Narongdech Janjai in 7.93 seconds.  Pakistan’s Abdul Rashid narrowly missed the top spot with a 7.95 run, as another Thai Suphan Wongsriphuck finished third (8.03).

Iran gets photo-finish win

Mohammed Akefian from Iran ran a marvellous two lapper to win the men’s 400m in a photo-finish from Yevgeniy Meleshenko of Kazakhstan -  47.83 to 47.84. Jukkatip Pojaroen of Thailand was third.

The women’s race was won by Asian champion Tatyana Roslanova in 52.69, a personal best and national indoor record for Kazakhstan.  Syria’s Mounira Alsaleh and Roslanova’s team-mate Anna Gavryushenko were distant second and third in 54.17 and 54.99 respectively.

Qatar’s Thamer Kamal Ali clocked 8:05.03 for a victory in the men’s 3000m, while his countryman Abubaker Kamal Ali claimed the bronze (8:13.24), as Srisung Boonthung of Thailand prevented a 1-2 finish with his excellent 8:10.39 mark.   

Ram. Murali Krishnan for the IAAF