On a miserable rain-sodden day, long jumper Mayookha Johny lightened up the gloom with a leap of 6.30 metres to bag a bronze medal for India in the 20th Asian Athletics Championship at the Shiv Chhatrapati Stadium, Balewadi yesterday.
Johny, who was the defending champion could not produce her best due to a slight niggle. “I was hampered by an ankle injury, otherwise I could have won the gold.”
Japanese Sachiko Masumi claimed gold as she soared to a leap of 6.55 metres. Anastasia Juravleva of Uzbekistan secured the silver with 6.36 metres.
Apart from Johny, shot putter Om Prakash Karhana was the only other medallist for the hosts. Om Prakash hurled the shot to a distance of 19.45 metres to clinch the bronze.
Saudi Arabia’s Allehebsi Sultan Abdul took home the gold with a throw of 19.68 metres while Chinese Taipei’s Chiang Ming-huang settled for the silver with 19.61 metres.
Preeja Sreedharan, the Asian Games gold medallist, disappointed the sparse gathering as she finished a distant fourth in the 10,000 metres.
What was even more shocking was that she was lapped by the eventual winner Bahraini Habtegebrel Shitaye. Preeja clocked 33:41.97.
Winner Shitaye strode comfortably and finished with a new meet record time of 32:17.29. The 10,000 metres is a gruelling 25-lap event. It’s of critical importance that a runner paces herself in the early stages so as to have plenty in the tank left towards the end. This is precisely the tactic the Bahraini employed, as she was steady for 23 laps before producing a burst of speed in the final two laps.
On expected lines, the opening day also witnessed organisational problems with two scoreboards refusing to work and results of the women’s discus throw coming out more than half an hour after the event finished.