Jyothi Yarraji sparkles, India claim golden treble at Asian indoor athletics - Hindustan Times
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Jyothi Yarraji sparkles, India claim golden treble at Asian indoor athletics

By, New Delhi
Feb 17, 2024 11:24 PM IST

Yarraji and Tajinderpal Singh Toor, with national marks, and Harmilan Bains won at the Asian Indoor athletics.

Jyothi Yarraji began her season by rewriting her 60m hurdles indoor national record on way to gold medal at the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in Tehran on Saturday. Yarraji, who holds the national record in 100m hurdles, improved her indoor mark by 0.01secs, clocking 8.12secs at the Aftab e Enghelab Sports Complex in the Iranian capital.

India's Jyothi Yarraji celebrates after winning silver medal in the women's 100-meter hurdles final event at the 19th Asian Games, in Hangzhou(PTI)
India's Jyothi Yarraji celebrates after winning silver medal in the women's 100-meter hurdles final event at the 19th Asian Games, in Hangzhou(PTI)

The Hangzhou Asian Games silver medallist topped her heats (8.22secs) to enter the final. In the eight-woman final, she finished ahead of Japan's Asuka Tereda (8.21s) and Hong Kong's Lui Lai Yiu (8.26s), bettering her runner-up finish in Kazakhstan last year.

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The season-opening win will also give her crucial ranking points that will contribute to her chances of qualifying for her maiden Olympics in Paris, although that shouldn't be a problem considering her ranking and form over the past couple of seasons. In an interaction with HT before leaving for Tehran, the 24-year-old had said she was determined to break the indoor record.

"I would like to improve on my national record. That'll give me a lot of confidence going into the season," she had said. Yarraji had a three-week training camp at the Odisha High Performance Centre in Bhubaneswar, where she also suffered a hamstring niggle. "She had a small injury during her training, nothing serious but she couldn’t train for a week. Now she is back in form. This was a good race for her," James Hillier, Athletics Director, Reliance Foundation, said.

"It's the start of the season and the first international competition, so I am very happy with the performance. This gold medal is special. I was a little worried about the pain in the hamstring last week but my team and physiotherapists worked hard to make me competition ready," Yarraji said. Harmilan Bains clocked an impressive 4:29.55 to win the women's 1500m final before shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor broke the 19-year-old national record.

Bains, who won double silver (800m, 1500m) at the Hangzhou Games, pushed Kyrgyzstan's Kalil Kyzy Ainuska (4:35.29) and Kazakhstan's Bolatbekkyzy Aiana (4:37.20) to second and third. Later in the day, defending champion and Asian Games gold medallist Toor proved too hot to handle in the final, achieving 19.72m to walk away with the top prize. The 29-year-old broke a 19-year-old indoor national record set by Vikas Gowda (19.60m). Toor logged only two valid throws — 19.72m in the second attempt and 19.27m in the fourth — and both were good enough for gold. Second-placed Ivanov Ivan of Kazakhstan was the only other finalist to cross 19m (19.08m) while Iran's Mehdi Saberi completed the top three (18.74m). Dhanveer Singh, the other Indian, finished fourth with a best throw of 18.59m.

In women's long jump, Shaili Singh (6.27m) and Nayana James (6.23m) were fifth and sixth respectively. Asian Games silver medallist Ajay Kumar Saroj finished sixth in 1,500m while Tejas Shirse was fifth (7.80s) in men's 60m hurdles final.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Shantanu Srivastava is an experienced sports journalist who has worked across print and digital media. He covers cricket and Olympic sports.

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