Sudha Singh put up a fantastic performance to grab gold in the women’s 3,000 meter steeplechase at the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship on Saturday in Bhubaneshwar. The 31-year-old athlete won the race in 9 minute 59.47 seconds to clinch the first gold of the day for India.
Sudha Singh led from the very beginning and finally got away when she produced a brilliant finishing spring in the last round which left the other participants trailing.
18-year-old Hyo Gyong from North Korea finished at second position in 10:13:94 while Japan’s Nana Sato completed the top three spots with a time of 10:18:11.
The Indian athlete, who had also won silver medals in the 2009, 2011 and 2013 editions, was a strong contender for the gold medal due to the absence of compatriot Lalita Babar, who planned to miss the tournament after her recent marriage, and Bahrain's world and Asian record holder Ruth Jebet.
Sudha, who had been battling injuries and health problems since the 2016 Rio Olympics, grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
"I was out of action for five months after the Olympics. Even after I resumed training I could not go all out as I used to get dizziness quite frequently. I joined the national camp in December and slowly started to pick up form,” as reported by IANS.
"The top runners of Asia had not come for this meet so the overall standard was below my level," Sudha told reporters.
"I have already competed in two Olympics and wanted to achieve something here. I want to win medals at the international level. My target was to do well at the Asian Championships and also at next month's World Championships," she replied when asked about her preparation for the next month’s World Championship for which she she has qualified with this win.
Parul Chaudhary, the other Indian in the women's steeplechase final was fourth with a time of 10:22.99.
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