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Africans corner glory in Afro-Asian Games

African athletes cornered glory, accounting for more than two-thirds of the medal haul.

othersports Updated: Nov 01, 2003 17:10 IST

African athletes cornered glory, accounting for more than two-thirds of the medal haul even as India matched China in the inaugural Afro-Asian Games athletics that concluded on Thursday.

While most of the African countries were without their big names, China, the Asian giants, also competed without their elite athletes. India fielded a large contingent and their athletes excelled more in field events than on the track at the Gachibowli Stadium.

China topped the honour list winning five gold, seven silver and three bronze medals. India, Ethiopia and South Africa also won five gold medals but the hosts finished second winning six silver medals and five bronze. However, the effort was below India's performance at the Busan Asian Games last year when they had a haul of seven gold.

Considering that the Games was held during the 'off season', no new marks were set in the three days of action.

For India the best performance came from World Championship bronze winner Anju Bobby George in women's long jump, Neelam J Singh in women's discus, heptathlete J J Sobha, Shakti Singh in men's shot put and Anil Kumar in men's discus.

After clearing 6.70m to finish third at Paris, Anju comfortably won the gold here with a 6.53m jump, the same mark which fetched her the gold at Busan Asian Games last year.

On her performance, Anju said that there was not much of competition and she lacked the motivation.

"Moreover, this is off season and I had not trained for this event. My training for the Athens Olympics would start after a month's break," Anju said.

If Anju brought the first gold medal to India, Shakti Singh, the indomitable iron man had no difficulty in winning the gold medal in shot put though his mark of 19.05m was much below his personal best.

Navpreet Singh Cheema collected the bronze medal, while Busan gold medallist Bahadur Singh could finish only fourth.

Anil Kumar proved his mettle in men's discus securing the gold medal, while Neelam J singh put aside her indisposition to clinch the gold in the women's section.

J J Shoba also made her mark winning the energy sapping Heptathlon. The Indian came back superbly after trailing in the first three events. She did superbly in the last four, including wins in long jump and 800m. She tallied 5848 for the gold.

The silver medal winners for India were Arun D'souza (3000m steeple chase, Sitaram Basat (10km walk), Saraswati Saha (women's 200m), Jasmine Kaur (women's 10km walk), Bobby Aloysius (women's high jump) and Gurmeet Kaur (women's javelin).

Finishing in the third place to win bronze medals were the men's 4x100m relay team, Navpreet Singh (men's shot put), Jagdish Bishnoi (men's javelin), Madhuri A Singh (women's 1500m) and Soma Bbiswas (heptathlon).

First Published: Nov 01, 2003 17:07 IST