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Strong winds spoilt many an event and dashed many a hope at the third and final leg of the Asian Grand Prix in Chonburi, Thailand, on Monday (14).
Those unfamiliar with the winds struggled a bit and those unable to take the strain of a six-day, three-city tour slumped a little.
Only one man, Chinese sprinter Zhang Peimeng, completed the three-meet sweep. In contrast, there were six women in a card of nine events who maintained their unbeaten run. They were Uzbekistan’s veteran sprinter Guzel Khubbieva, Vietnam’s 2011 Asian champion in the 800m Truong Thanh Hang, Uzbek intermediate hurdler Natalya Asanova, Uzbek high jumper Svetlana Radzivil, Uzbek shot putter Safiya Burkhanova and Thai discus thrower Subenrat Insaeng.
Those who made a clean sweep of the titles at three stops were richer by $4500 in all. The second-placed athletes won $800 and the third-placed ones received $500 each.
Zhang Peimeng’s 10.48 in the 100m into a headwind of 3.1m/s was a creditable effort. As in the previous meets, there was no worthwhile opposition to Zhang Peimeng in the short sprint, where, like in the earlier meets, two races were run.
Sajad Hashemiahan was back to winning ways in the 400m against Indian P. Kunhumohammed, clocking 46.31, his best in the series. The Indian, who had timed a PB of 46.14 in Kanchanaburi, returned 46.44 this time for the second place. The 2007 Asian champion, Prasanna Amarasekara of Sri Lanka, was third in 47.80.
For the first time in the series, Iraqi Adnan Taees lived up to his stature as the silver medallist from the 2010 Asian Games, while taking the men’s 800m in a slow 1:49.79. Having been beaten by Indian Sajeesh Joseph in the opening leg and by the Indian and Iranian Ehsan Mohajorshojaei in the second, Taees had his revenge at last as he outkicked the rest on the home straight. Joseph came second in 1:49.96, while Mohajorshojaei did not finish.
In the battle for supremacy in the men’s 110m Hurdles, where the Chinese have invariably ruled in the Asian scene, Kuwaiti Abdulaziz Al-Mandeel had intruded this time. Al-Mandeel, eight days short of his 23rd birthday, edged Chinese Jiang Fan for the second time in this series 13.62 to 13.78 into a headwind of 2.3m/s.
In winning the opening leg in Bangkok, Al-Mandeel had posted a national record of 13.58 which also happened to be better than the 'B’ qualification standard of 13.60 for the London Olympics. Jiang Fan had won the second leg in 13.54.
Iranian Keyvan Ghanbarzade, Sri Lankan Manjula Kumara Wijesekara and Thai Pramote Poom-Urai tied at 2.23m in high jump with the Iranian winning on a countback.
Indian Renjith Maheswary extended his victories to two as he took the triple jump with 16.46m while Kazakh Roman Valiyev (16.13m) and another Indian, Arpinder Singh (15.85m) followed him in a low-key competition against moderate headwinds.
Khubbieva’s reign in the women’s 100m continued, though at 11.82, the 36-year-old Uzbek clocked her poorest in the three victories she scored in this circuit. In a remarkable career, the Uzbek has been winning uninterrupted since the 2008 series barring the occasion in Chennai, in 2010, when Papua New Guinea’s Toea Wisil, a guest entry, beat her.
Indian M. R. Poovamma’s winning streak in the 400m ended on Monday when Iranian Maryam Toosi beat her 53.44 to 53.50.
Vietnamese Truong Thanh Hang, however, maintained her winning sequence in claiming the 800m, with Indian Sinimole Paulose taking her customary second place.
Uzbek Svetlana Radzivil, a Daegu World Championship finalist, was a shade below her best in winning the High Jump at 1.90m, while Filipino Marestella Torres registered a season best 6.62m in claiming the Long Jump.
Mayookha Johny also produced a season best of 6.50m but the Indian, who already has an Olympic standard in Triple Jump, remained away from the standard of 6.65m in Long Jump which she was hoping to gain through these meets.
The relays, unlike in the previous leg, produced below-average timings, Chinese Taipei men and Chinese women taking the sprint titles and the Indian teams winning both the longer events.
By an IAAF correspondent
Leading Results -
Men: 100m: Race 'A’: 1. Zhang Peimeng (Chn) 10.48, 2. Reza Ghasemi (Iri) 10.56, 3. Zheng Dongsheng (Chn) 10.65. Race 'B’: 1. Abdullah Ali Sooli (Oma) 10.82, 2. Calvin Kang Li Loon (Sin) 10.96, 3. Mohammed Amiruddin Jamal (Sin) 10.98.