The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
Bangkok, ThailandOn a day of generally belowpar performances Vietnam’s 2011 Asian 800m champion Truong Thanh Hang produced a 2:02.15 finish to win the women’s 800 metres as the Asian Grand Prix circuit opened at the National Stadium here on Tuesday (8).
In a close finish with Uzbekistan’s Anna Sidorova, Thanh Hang made a fine start to her outdoor season with her third best time ever for the distance that also happened to be the lone meeting record in the first leg of the continental Grand Prix series.
Margarita Matsko of Kazakhstan held the previous record of 2:02.83 clocked in Kunshan, China, in 2009.
Generally however across all events the expected field did not assemble and the contests thus lacked the high-level performance that should have been expected.
There was a close duel in men’s High Jump where Manjula Kumara Wijesekara of Sri Lanka was engaged in a tough contest with Keyvan Ghanbarzade of Iran. Wijesekara, a former Asian champion, prevailed on a count-back after both cleared 2.23 metres. Another former Asian champion, Lee Hup Wei was fourth with a clearance of 2.19 metres.
There was a tie in the women’s High Jump also, with Uzbek Svetlana Radzivil and Indian Sahana Kumari locked at 1.89. The Uzbek won, while the Indian, who recorded a PB, continued to search for the Olympic standard of 1.92m that once again eluded her.
Men’s Javelin Throw produced a quality mark of 80.25m from Uzbek Ivan Zaytsev. The Uzbeks swept the medals, with Bobur Shokujonov and Rinat Tarzumanov coming behind Zaytsev.
Kuwaiti Abdulaziz Almandeel brought off the biggest upset of the day, defeating Chinese favourite Jiang Fan in the 110m Hurdles in a personal best 13.58 seconds. Jiang Fan, a semi-finalist at the Daegu World Championships, who had won two legs last year, was second in 13.78.
With Asian Games champion Lao Yi and Asian champion Su Bingtian pulling out at the last moment, it was left to another Chinese Zhang Peimeng, an experienced hand at the Asian GP level, to take the men’s 100m title in a modest field. Run in two races the 100 metres produced low key timings, with Zhang Peimeng winning the main race in 10.48. Sri Lankan Shehan Abepitiyage claimed the silver in 10.52.
The women’s sprint once again witnessed the evergreen Uzbek, Guzel Khubbieva winning. Khubbieva, who just six days ago turned 36, was her usual , commanding self towards the finish, putting daylight between her and the rest while clocking a modest 11.39 seconds.
Chinese Wei Yongli was second in 11.60 and Vietnamese Vu Thi Huong was further down for the third place at 11.79.
India’s M. R. Poovamma has been making quite an impact this season with her consistent performances in the women’s 400 metres. She clocked a personal best of 52.94 seconds today to edge Iranian Maryam Toosi, who also clocked a PB of 52.95.
Poovamma later anchored her team in the 4x400m relay to a 3:38.76 win but this was not the time the Indians were looking for in their bid to qualify for the Olympics.
Another impressive Indian winner was Sajeesh Joseph who clocked a season best 1:47.78 while winning the 800 metres at the expense of Asian Games silver medal winner Adnan Taees of Iraq. Joseph's compatriot Ghamanda Ram was third.
The relays generally returned average timings. Of the three teams in the women’s 4x400, China was disqualified in the end.
In the absence of India’s Harwant Kaur, three Thai women comprised the women’s Discus Throw competition.