The Indian long jump queen's reign ended under the gigantic lights of the Khalifa Stadium here on Sunday. Busan Asian Games gold-medallist Anju Bobby George could not come near her personal best of 6.83 metres, but her final jump of 6.52 was enough to clinch silver in front of packed stands. The gold went to Japan's Kumiko Ikida with a jump of 6.81.
Quarter-miler Manjeet Kaur, with blisters on both legs and braving pain in the left knee, brought more cheer, finishing second behind Kazakhstan's Olga Tereshkova with a time of 52.17.
Despite the second place, Anju said she was happy with her showing. "I have hardly taken part in any competition recently... I was coming back after a long gap. I could have done better, but did some mistake in the runway," she said. Anju, who faulted on the third and fourth jumps, said she knew her final jump would be the best. "More often than not, I do better in the last jump," she said.
Manjeet Kaur wouldn't have expected bad luck to strike with only a couple of days left for the 400m event. The national record holder, who dropped a cup of boiling soup on her thighs on Friday and had red blotches all over, could barely talk, and left without doing much talking.
Manjeet was placed second till the first 200m mark but fell behind after the halfway mark with Japanese Tanno Asami passing her. A burst of energy in the final straight saw her overtake Asami. Olga Tereshkova won gold with 51.86.
"I was expecting gold here but the left-knee pain that I have been carrying since the Muscat training camp slowed me down a bit. After the Japanese girl pushed me to third spot, I had to pull a lot to regain my position," said the double gold-medallist at the 2005 Asian Athletics championship at Incheon (South Korea).
It turned out to be an inauspicious outing for another quarter-miler, Bengal girl Pinki Paramanik, who started with a false start. She then remained fourth from start to finish. She could have grabbed bronze but allowed Asami to breast the tape ahead of her. "At first, I thought I had won the bronze," the Eastern Railway employee said. "I was not prepared for the 400m," added the Purulia girl.
"Before coming here, I only had 10 or 12 400m practice races. My favourite event is the 800m but still I wasn't included the event," she said. "I asked the Athletic Federation of India to take my trials in 800m, but they wouldn't listen. They chose S. Shanthi and Sinimol Paulose ahead of me," said Paramanik, adding she was mentally not prepared for the event.