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Femi Seun Ogunode of Qatari and Japanese Chisato Fukushima completed double victories to highlight Day five action at the Asian Games on Thursday (25).
Ogunode, a 19-year-old who has represented Qatar since October last year, had projected himself as the hottest contender for the 200m gold with his heats showing and he won today with a measure of comfort, clocking a national junior record of 20.32 (+1.4m/s).
Kenji Fujimitsu of Japan was second, well behind as Ogunode raised his arms in triumph just as he crossed the finish.
The former Nigerian had won the sprint double in the recent West Asian championships but was entered here in the 200m and 400m. He had earlier won the 400m here in another personal best timing of 45.12s.
“I knew before the race that I would win, even though nobody else pushed me,” said Ogunode, who notched the first 200/400m double at these Games since Milkha Singh of India achieved the distinction in 1958. “During training I had run 19.0 seconds so I was very confident I would win.”
Fukushima was also unchallenged in the women’s 200m, though she had to work in the second half en route to her 23.62 clocking. Veteran Guzel Khubbieva of Uzbekistan was beaten by Vietnamese Vu Thi Huong for the silver.
Matsko and Moradi take 800m titles
The women’s 800m saw the eclipse of World 1500m champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal, who was tipped to battle it out with Indian Tintu Luka. As it turned out, Jamal finished sixth in 2:06.07 while Luka took the bronze in 2:01.36. Filling up the gold and silver slots, with personal bests, were Kazakh Margarita Matsko (2:00.29) and Vietnamese Truong Thanh Hang (2:00.91).
Luka took the runners through an opening lap of 57.82s but the 21-year-old Indian could not hold her place after nearly 700 metres. Matsko first and then Hang passed her on the straight and, for the second time in just over a month Luka had disappointed her fans back home with a poorer finish than expected.
“I feel very happy. It is really a surprise because I just expected to get the bronze,” said Matsko.
Jamal looked to go out of steam completely on the final backstraight after having tugged along the rest in sixth place for the opening lap.
Iranian Sajad Moradi ran a blistering straight to wrest the men’s 800m title in a field in which defending champion Yusuf Saad Kamel was absent.
BIlal Mansoor Ali took over the lead on the backstraight, with Mohammed Obaid Al-Salhi of Kuwait (participating under the banner of IOC) and Moradi in hot pursuit.
Into the home straight, Ali was in the lead, but then as quickly as had happened in the heats when he barely managed, runners began leaving him behind. Moradi was simply outstanding as he raced to victory in 1:45.45, looking to either side, almost beckoning the rest and telling them how good he was.
Iraq’s Adnan Taees Akbar came from behind took the silver in a PB of 1:45.88 while bronze winner, Abdelrahman Musaeb Bala of Qatar, also had a PB of 1:46.19.
“I trained hard before the competition because I just wanted to win the gold medal,” Moradi said. “I think this gold medal also belongs to (brother Amir Moradi) because he helped me in the competition.”
Amir, who led the field through the first lap but did not finish, also said that he had helped his brother. “Iran hasn’t won a gold medal on the track at the Asian Games for a very long time, so it is meaningful.”
China suffered a surprise defeat in the women’s 100m Hurdles where Korean Lee Yeon Kyung took the title and Kazakh Natalya Ivoninskaya claimed the silver. In a blanket finish, Ivoninskaya seemed to have clinched the verdict without realising that on the outside, the Korean had snuck in. The Kazakh woman was in tears for having missed the gold so narrowly (13.23 to 13.24).
China suffered an unexpected defeat in women’s Javelin Throw when Japanese Yuki Ebihara nailed the gold at 61.56m, a Games record. Asian leader for the season, Xue Juan and Li Lingwei were second and third with below-par performances. Four years ago, Thai Buoban Phamang had surprised the Chinese with a throw of 61.31m, a Games record then.
Indians continued to provide surprises with Joseph Abraham and A.C. Ashwini winning 400m hurdles titles with impressive performances. Japanese Kenji Narisako who tried in vain to beat Abraham at the finish, was later disqualified for not hurdling within the rules.
Providing a big surprise in the women’s 400m Hurdles was Ashwini who clocked a career best 56.15s in winning the gold. Japanese Satomi Kubokura who led marginally coming into the straight, was beaten by Ashwini’s finishing drive while Chinese Wang Xing beat the Japanese in the end.
By an IAAF Correspondent
Leading results -
Men: 200m: 1. Femi Ogunode (Qat) 20.43s, 2. Kenji Fujimitsu (Jpn) 20.74, 3. Omar Juma Al Safa (UAE) 20.83
800m: 1. Sajad Moradi (Iri) 1:45.45, 2. Adam Taees Akbar (Irq) 1:45.88, 3. Abdulrahman Musaeb Balla (Qat) 1:46.19.
400m hurdles: 1. Joseph Abraham (Ind) 49.96s, 2. Bandar Yahya Sharhili (KSA) 50.29, 3. Naohiro Kawakita (Jpn) 50.37.
Decathlon: 1. Dmitry Karpov (Kaz) 8026 pts, 2. Kim Kun Woo (Kor) 7808, 3. Vu van Huyen (Vie) 7755.
50km walk: 1. Si Tianfeng (Chn) 3:47:04, 2. Li Lei (Chn) 3:47.34, 3. Koichiro Morioka (Jpn) 3:47:41.