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G Lakshmanan wins distance double, India get 12 gold at Asian Athletics Meet

G Lakshmanan and four other Indians win gold on the last day of Asian Athletics Championships as India topped the medal tally for first time in the history of the tournament.

other sports Updated: Jul 10, 2017 00:13 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneshwar
Asian Athletics Championships,G Lakshmanan,Neeraj Chopra
India's 10,000m gold medalist G Lakshmanan (centre) and silver medal winner Gopi Thhonakal (left) celebrate at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneshwar on Sunday.(PTI)

It was grand double for India’s distance runner G Lakshmanan as he won the 10,000m on the final day of the Asian Athletics Championships at the Kalinga Stadium on Sunday.

On the opening day, Lakshmanan had won gold in the 5,000m. Lakshmanan also etched his name in the record books by becoming the first Indian runner to win gold in both 5,000m and 10,000m event. His wining time was 29:55.87secs

India won as many as five gold medals on the last day to take their tally to 12 gold.

Neeraj Chopra, India’s national record holder in men’s javelin and Swapna Barman also won gold medals on the final day. National 4x400m relay team in both men and women won the other two gold medals of the day.

READ | Asian Athletics Championships: Good start but uphill climb ahead for Indians

Tintu disappoints

India’s evening session though started on a disappointing note with Tintu Luka, favourite to win gold in the women’s 800m, pulled out after the 500m mark. India’s Archana Adhav won gold, but was later disqualified for pushing a Sri Lanka runner.

Tintu’s quitting the race raised eyebrows. There were speculation that she was suffering from flu for the past one week. But there wasn’t any sign of illness during the heats which she won in 2:06secs. Recently, she also participated in an international competition in Almaty and clocked 2:03 secs.

Chief coach Bahadur Singh said he had no idea why she quit the race. “Since she is training with PT Usha, I can’t comment on the issue,” he said.

READ | Asian Athletics Championship: Indian decathlete Jagtar Singh fails dope test

Gold rush

India’s gold medal rush, however, started with Swapna Barman (5942 points) winning the heptathlon. Purnima Hembram (5798 points) won bronze.

Heptathlon gold medallist Swapna Barman of India (C), Meg Hemphill of Japan (Silver) and India's Purnima Hembram (R) with bronze medal during the medal ceremony. (PTI)

It was followed by men’s 10,000m where India finished 1-2. T Gopi took silver behind Lakshmanan.

Lakshmanan has qualified for the Worlds in both the races, but will focus on 5,000m. “I raced here to win medals but in London I will race to improve my time,” he said.

India’s poster boy in athletics Neeraj Chopra dominated the javelin hinting he is on the right track for the Worlds in August. His best throw was 85.23m.

Neeraj had set the world U-20 record of 86.48m last year and this season too he has been consistent.

On his participation in the Paris Diamond League earlier this month, he said, it was good learning experience and should help him prepare for the Worlds.

As expected India’s quarter milers also did the country proud by winning gold medal in both men and women’s 4x400m relay.

Overall India’s medal tally swelled to 29 medals including 12 gold. India also won five silver and 12 bronze medals. Last time India won more than 20 medals was in 2000 at Jakarta.

First Published: Jul 10, 2017 00:05 IST