PU Chitra has claimed a gold for India in the 1500m at the ongoing 23rd edition of the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, where India finished with a total of 17 medals. Ajay Kumar Saroj and women’s 4X400 relay team bagged silver medals while Dutee Chand clinched a bronze in 200m race.
Defending champion of the 2017 edition, Chitra excelled in the 1500m race again to defend her gold medal. She ended up at the topmost position at the 23rd edition of the Championships with a timing of 4:14.56 in the final. The Indian athlete went ahead of Bahrain’s Gashaw Tigest and Winfred Mutile Yavi in her last run at the continental event in Qatar’s capital city.
“Got a little nervous towards the end being next to the Bahraini runner (Gashaw Tigest). She beat me to third place in Asian Games. I had to really push hard in the end,” Chitra told Athletics Federation of India after winning the medal.
Ajay Kumar Saroj also put up a stunning show in the men’s event of the 1500m race and managed to end at the second position in a photo-finish on the last day of the Championship. The Indian clocked 3:43.18 to claim a silver medal. He fell short of Bahrain’s Abraham Rotich and just ahead of the local athlete Musaab Ali.
Prachi, MR Poovamma, Saritaben Gayakwad, and VK Vismaya managed to win a silver medal in the women’s 4x400m relay final with a season-best timing in the absence of star athlete Hima Das. In spite of leading the race for a longer period of time in the final, they fell short of the Bahrain women thanks to Salwa Naser. The Indian team clocked 3:32.21 which was the second best after Bahrain’s 3:32.10.
However, in the men’s 4X400m relay, the Indian team of Kunhu Md, KS Jeevan, Muhammed Anas and Arokia Rajiv was disqualified on the final day. The team had won a silver medal with a timing of 3:03.28 before they were deemed to have obstructed an athlete.
Earlier on the day, Dutee Chand bagged a bronze medal after failing to win one in the 100m race. In the 200m final, the Odisha athlete finished with her season-best timing of 23.24 seconds. She overtook Bahrain’s Edidiong Odiong in a photo-finish final on Wednesday to finish on the podium.
“I am really very happy. I missed a medal in 100m and relay. I put too much effort in 100m, was not sure of a medal in 200m. Just did my best and I am happy,” Chand told AFI.
In women’s discus throw, Navjeet Kaur (57.47m) stayed out of the podium at the fourth place while Gavit Murali finished fifth with 13:48.99 (his personal best) and Abhishek Pal was placed sixth with 13:56.09 in the men’s 500m category.
With a total of three gold medals, seven silver medals and seven bronze medals, India finished at the fourth position on the medal’s tally with a total of 17 medals at the Asian Athletics Championships.
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