Mayookha, Om Prakash save India blushes
The reasons were as diverse as the disappointed faces that turned up to face the media at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on the opening day of the 20th Asian Athletics ChampionshipUpdated: Jul 04, 2013 01:19 IST
The reasons were as diverse as the disappointed faces that turned up to face the media at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on the opening day of the 20th Asian Athletics Championship.
A sparse crowd had trooped into the stadium braving a steady drizzle, hoping that India would win their first gold on the first day itself. They left disappointed as the hosts could manage only two bronze on Wednesday — long jumper Mayookha Johny and shot putter Om Prakash Karhana opening India's account.
The biggest disappointment of the day was Commonwealth Games gold medallist discus thrower Krishna Poonia and distance runner Preeja Sreedharan, an Asian Games medallist, in 10,000 metres.
Mayookha, the defending champion from Kobe, Japan, two years ago, struggled on the slippery runway. She was also hampered by an injury to her right leg that she claimed had kept her bed-ridden for a week before the event.
Mayookha bagged the bronze with a leap of 6.30m in her fourth attempt, finishing behind gold winner Japan's Sachiko Masumi (6.55m) and Uzbek Anastasiya Juravleva (6.36m). Om Prakash, the 2009 Asian champion, started well and led the field with his second attempt of 19.45m.
However, Saudi Arabia's Sultan Abdulmajeed Al-Hebshi, the reigning Asian Games champion, surged ahead with his fourth round 19.60m and extended it to 19.68m in the next.
Coach Shakti Singh was satisfied with his ward's performance. "Om Prakash has a defect in his throwing arm elbow and I am trying to rectify that. He failed to touch 19m in eight events this season, but he did it here, so I think he is on the right track," said Shakti.
Poonia stormed out of the stadium soon after her event as she repeated her fourth-place finish. Having won three bronze medals in the Asian Champonships, Poonia was expected to climb the podium again. However, the slippery circle made things complicated for the Indian and she could manage only 55.01m.
Bahrain's defending champion in women's 10,000m was the star of the day as she defended her title with a record to boot. Eshete, sixth in the London Olympics last year as well as the World Championships in Daegu two years ago, clocked 32:17.29, a meet record.