Discus thrower Vikas Gowda will usher in his 30th birthday today on a happy note after he led the hosts to a gold medal for the first time at the 20th Asian Athletics Championship at the Shiv Chhatrapati Stadium.
The strapping 6-foot, 9-inch Gowda threw the discus 64.90 metres on his third throw for his best-ever finish at a major championship. At the 2011 Asian Athletics Championship in Kobe, Japan, he bagged a silver while at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games he took the bronze medal.
Incidentally, the Indian who lives in the US clinched gold on the Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day.
The Mysore-born lad first came into prominence by winning the shot put in the NCAA Collegiate Championships in 2006. Gowda, who graduated from the University of North Carolina and resides in Frederick, Maryland, has a pronounced American accent when he speaks. “Yes this is my best performance. I thrive under pressure. I dedicate this win to my parents in the US,’’ said a delighted Gowda.
The gigantic Indian comes from a sporting pedigree. His father Shive coached the 1988 Indian Olympic track team.
Gowda had a penchant for sprinting and throwing since his school days and it is no surprise who he idolises. “My heroes were Olympic legend Carl Lewis and world record holder long jumper Mike Powell. Their astonishing feats inspired me,’’ signed off the shot put ace.
Two more medals
India won two more medals on an eventful day. Poovamma ran spiritedly to clinch silver in the women’s 400 metres while Ratiram Saini seized bronze in the men’s 10,000 metres.
Meanwhile, China stormed to a double in the showpiece 100 metre events. Su Bing Tian retained his men’s crown, timing 10.17 secs, while Wei Yongli clocked 11.29 secs to win the women’s event.