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Bobby Aloysius, Gurmeet Kaur bag silver medals

Bobby Aloysius and Gurmeet Kaur provided the silver lining for India on the opening day of the Afro-Asian Games athletics event.

othersports Updated: Oct 28, 2003 23:52 IST

Bobby Aloysius and Gurmeet Kaur provided the silver lining for India on the opening day of the Afro-Asian Games athletics event at the GMC Balayogi Stadium on Tuesday. While Bobby gave India the women’s high jump silver, Gurmeet repeated the feat in women’s javelin.

There was a touch of bronze too, with Madhuri A Singh fetching one in women’s 1500m. The men once again failed to deliver the goods.

There was a major disappointment on the tracks. Sunita Rani, India’s star runner in1500m and the Busan Asian Games gold medallist, failed to get a medal despite the high-profile field running a very poor race.

Sunita finished fourth, with teammate Madhuri surging ahead of her at the end of the race. Madhuri’s late thrust, however, never challenged the Ethiopian duo of Birhane Geletu Hirpasa and Kutre Ware Duleche, who finished with gold and silver respectively.

“I was nursing an injury in the left leg, which I picked up during the recent open nationals in Bangalore,” Sunita said later.

“There was a nagging pain, but I thought I would run as you don’t get to compete with Ethiopians everyday. Now, I will rest for a month and get the injury treated before coming back to the track.”

Sunita set the pace initially, but the Ethiopians took over in the last lap, steadily increasing the gap.

Madhuri expressed happiness despite admitting it was a slow race. Hirpasa has done much better than the 4:17.36s that fetched her the gold. Dulecha, the star attraction in the event clocked 4:18.14s, although her best timing this year has been 4:02.74s. “We never thought we could beat the Africans, yet I did fairly well,” Madhuri said after clocking 4:22.32s for bronze.

The star, as far as India was concerned, was Aloysius, who ‘Fosberry flopped’ on her way to the silver.

“I am happy with my performance and I think I can do better in the near future,” Bobby said. She and the eventual winner, Marina Aitova of Khazakhstan, both crossed the 1.88 mark.

While Bobby needed three jumps to do that, Marina managed to glide over the bar in her second attempt. South Africa’s Marisca Gerfenbach settled for the bronze.

The end of the day turned out to be good for India with Gurmeet Kaur hurling the javelin to 53.37m for the silver. Vijoen Sunette of South Africa won the gold with a throw of 55.49m, over three metres short of Gurmeet’s best.

There was disappointment for India in 400m men’s hurdles, with Vara Prasad Reddy finishing fourth. The gold went to Kazakhstan’s Yevgeny Maleshenko, whose 49.66s was his personal best. Senegal’s Ibou Faye took the silver at 50.08s, a timing that is faster than the Indian record.

First Published: Oct 28, 2003 23:52 IST