Abdalelah Haroun wins the 400m (Organisers / Peh Siong San) © Copyright
Report Wuhan, China

Qatari sprinters dominate at Asian Championships

Sprinters from Qatar produced the most eye-catching performances on the second day of the Asian Championships in Wuhan on Thursday (4) with 18-year-old Abdalelah Haroun claiming the 400m title and Femi Ogunode setting an Asian record in the men’s 100m.

Haroun, who earlier this year won the Arab title, equalled his PB of 44.68 as he stunned the defending champion and Asian record-holder Yousef Masrahi of Saudi Arabia to win the men’s 400m title.

Masrahi took an early lead but Haroun powered through the last curve and caught up with Masrahi before pulling away in the home straight. It was the third time this year that Haroun had clocked 44.68.

“This is good, still very close,” said Haroun. “This is my first time in China and I will be better.”

Masrahi finished second in 45.14 and Sato Kentaro of Japan finished a distant third in 46.09.

“44.68 is nothing for me actually. I will come back. I will break the Asian record again,” said Masrahi who set the continental mark of 44.43 in Lausanne last July.

After storming to a championship record of 9.97 in the semi-final, Ogunode delivered an early warning to break his own Asian 100m record on Wednesday. And today he made his words count.

Assisted by a 1.8m/s tailwind, Ogunode built a comfortable midway lead and blazed through the finish line in 9.91, bettering his own Asian record of 9.93, set when winning the Asian Games title last year.

“I just want to thank everybody. I want to thank my team and my manager and everybody that supports me,” said Ogunode. “Today it is not a surprise for me because last year at the Asian Games I did not have a coach. I was training alone. Now I have a coach so this is not a surprise. Today's result is just like training. This is not my best.”

“I am ready in any weather, any condition and anywhere,” added the confident Qatari who set the mark in drizzling conditions.

Talking about his expectation for the World Championships in Beijing in August, Ogunode said: “I am going for the gold.”

China’s Zhang Peimeng clocked 10.15 to finish second as he finally met the entry standard for the World Championships in his third outing of the season. Reza Ghasemi of Iran took the bronze in 10.19 while China’s Xie Zhenye, the 200m gold medallist at the 2010 Youth Olympics, trimmed 0.06 from his personal best to finish fourth in 10.25.

Al-Garni and Desalegn do the double

After winning the 1500m on Wednesday, Qatar’s double Asian Games champion Mohamad Al-Garni collected his second gold medal in Wuhan, improving the championship record to 13:34.47 en route to winning the men’s 5000m title.

In fact, the top four finishers all broke the championship record of 13:39.71 set four years ago by Bahrain’s Dejene Regassa.

Betlhem Desalegn of UAE also grabbed her second gold as she clocked 15:25.15 to win the women’s 5000m, repeating the 1500m and 5000m double feat she achieved at the previous edition in Pune.

The Chinese women’s 4x100m relay team shrugged off a minor hiccup during the last changeover and claimed the title in 43.10 to beat the 14-year-old championship record of 43.41.

“It is a good race for us although our plan was to produce a sub-43 performance,” said anchor leg runner Wei Yongli.

Paced by Su Bingtian, who improved the Chinese 100m record to 9.99 at the recent IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene on Saturday, the hosts also won in the men’s 4x100m in 39.04.

Su Xinyue led a podium sweep for the hosts in women’s discus with her sixth-round effort of 63.90m.

Yang Huizhen clocked 52.37 to win the women’s 400m while Zhang Wei levelled with his PB to win the men’s pole vault at 5.60m.

China’s sixth gold came from long jumper Gao Xinglong as his first jump of 7.96m was good enough to secure the victory.

Reigning champion Dilshod Nazarov of Tajikistan, the fifth-place finisher at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, hurled four throws beyond 77 metres to win the men’s hammer title with 77.68m.

Japan’s Chisato Fukushima sprinted to a wind-assisted 11.23 to win the women’s 100m while Ekaterina Voronina of Uzbekistan notch the heptathlon gold with 5689.

Vincent Wu for the IAAF