Maryam Jamal takes a comfortable 1500m victory at the Asian Games (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Guangzhou, China

Jamal captures 1500m title in Guangzhou - Asian Games, Day 3

World champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal lived up to her stature, winning the 1500me in the Asian Games athletics championships on Tuesday (23).

Championship races are invariably run to win medals and not to post records and Jamal could not have been found wanting in her effort to enlarge her adopted country’s medals tally.

“I am here just to win. I controlled myself at first but it wasn’t easy,” she said, probably hinting at the fact that she had to hold herself back in an effort to keep the pace down for a comfortable finish. She crossed the line in 4:08.22 to win by more than a full second.

Teammate Mimi Belete set the pace for Jamal, and the two looked to be cruising along merrily on the final back straight towards what could have been a gold-silver finish. Jamal pulled away about 100 metres from the finish, but Vietnamese Truong Thanh Hang came from behind on the home straight to pip Belete at the post. The Vietnamese was overjoyed.

Shahween takes men's 1500m

This was a day when the more established athletes and the leaders in the continent held sway rather than finding themselves surprised by emerging stars. The men’s 1500m Asian champion, Mohammed Othman Shahween also won easily in 3:36.49 after his Saudi Arabian teammate Noor Emad Hamed set the pace for him.

The more fancied Bilal Mansoor Ali of Bahrain was left ruing his plight and possibly his early move on the back after being passed by Shahween and Iranian Sajad Moradi.

“In the last 100 metres, I intended to pass the others, but instead others passed me. I was looking forward to winning the gold medal,” said Ali, who was the favourite after World champion Yusuf Saad Kamel, his teammate, made a dramatic exit in the heats yesterday.

Behind Shahween, Moradi clocked a national record for Iran, at 3:37.09, Ali taking third in 3:38.39.

Tareq Mubarak Taher brought Bahrain its third gold medal of the Games, winning the 3000m Steeplechase in 8:25.89. Taher had clung onto Qataris Kamal Ali Thamer and Zakaria Ali Kamal for much of the race, overtaking only in the last lap and then holding onto his lead till the end.

Thamer challenged him severely despite being well behind while approaching the final barrier. Taher hesitated a moment there and Thamer almost caught up. The Qatari made a determined effort to catch up with Taher, who was, however, was unyielding.

Essa Mutaz Barshim took the High Jump gold to add to his Asian junior title this season, at Hanoi where he scaled 2.31m to set a national record. Another Qatari, Rashid Ahmed Al-Mannai, the winner at the IAAF/VTB Bank Continental Cup in September, took the bronze. Barshim cleared 2.27m while Al-Mannai topped out at 2.19m. Japanese Hiromi Takahari took the silver with 2.23m.

Jung Soon-Ok upsets late entry Rypakova in the Long Jump

Jung Soon-Ok of Korea was a surprise winner in the women’s Long Jump competition where Kazakh Olga Rypakova was a last-minute entry. Rypakova, who recently set a 15.25m continental record in the Triple Jump, took the lead in the third round with 6.50m that looked good enough to stand on a day of mediocre jumping. But then the Korean came up with a 6.53m leap in the next round and that survived Rypakova’s assault, her last two jumps being fouls.

Yuliya Tarasova, who was originally expected just to concentrate on the Heptathlon, took time off while waiting for the start of the multi-event 800m, and took Long Jump bronze with a 6.49 leap, the same as Filipino Marestella Torres. The tie was easily broken, for, the Filipino had no other legal jump. She had a string of five fouls after an opening jump of 6.49 that led the field for two rounds.

Tarasova then returned to the track to comfortably take the Heptathlon title, tallying 5783 points, well ahead of Japan's Yuki Nakata, who scored 5606.

In the women's Discus Throw, Chinese Li Yanfeng, who won the Continental Cup gold in Split last September, won here, too, with a season best and Asian leading 66.18m in the second round that practically killed the contest. Defending champion Song Aimin who was lying third behind Indian Krishna Poonia came up with her own season best of 64.04m in the fourth round and that was for all practical purposes the end of the challenge, too, by the Indian who had started with a 61.94m.

“I hoped I could do better, However it was good enough for me since I carried a left knee injury during the competition,” said Poonia.

Favourites Japan crashed out of the men’s 4x100m relay heats, dropping the baton on the second exchange.

“I regret today’s result,” said Masashi Eriguchi, the top Japanese sprinter who had failed to make the final of the men’s 100 the previous day. “But we will practice harder and harder in future,” he added.

Liu Xiang, the 2004 Olympic champion and former 110m Hurdles World record holder, will again take centre stage when the Day 4 program concludes with the high hurdles final. Local media reports suggest that upwards of 600 million viewers will watch the final through numerous media formats.

By an IAAF Correspondent
Leading Results:
1500m: 1.  Mohammed Othman Shaween (KSA) 3:36.49, 2. Sajad Moradi (Iri) 3:37.09, 3. Bilal Mansoor Ali (Brn) 3:38.39.
3000m steeplechase: 1. Tareq Mubarak Taher (Brn) 8:25.89, 2. Thamer Kamal Ali (Qat) 8:26.27, 3. Ali Ahmed Al Amri (KSA) 8:30.96.
High jump: 1. Essa Mutaz Barshim (Qat) 2.27m, 2. Hiromi Takahari (Jpn) 2.23, 3. Rashid Ahmed Al Mannai (Qat) 2.19.

1500m: 1. Maryam Yusuf Jamal (Brn)  4:08.22, 2. Truong Thanh Hang (Vie) 4:09.58, 3. Mimi Belete (Brn) 4:10.42.
Long jump: 1. Jung Soon-Ok (Kor) 6.53m, 2. Olga Rypakova (Kaz) 6.50, 3. Yulia Tarasova (Uzb)6.49.
Discus: 1. Li Yanfeng (Chn) 66.18, 2. Song Aimin (Chn) 64.04, 3. Krishna Poonia (Ind) 61.94.
Heptathlon: 1. Yuliya Tarasova (Uzb) 5783 pts, 2. Yuki Nakata (Jpn) 5606, 3. Pramila Aiyappa (Ind) 5415.
20km walk: 1. Liu  Hong (Chn) 1:30:06, 2. Masumi Fuchise (Jpn) 1:30:34, 3. Li Yanfei (Chn) 1:32:34.

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