Asian Games 2018: Neeraj’s throws do all the talking

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AUGUST 27, 2018

A record and medal: Neeraj Chopra’s effort helped him become the country’s first javelin gold medallist at the Games.   | Photo Credit: DARREN WHITESIDE

Dharun, Neena and Sudha win silver medals

He does not predict big throws, just assures you that he would give his best. Once again, Neeraj Chopra let his throws do all the talking as he shattered his own national record on his way to the men’s javelin gold at the Asian Games here on Monday.

Neeraj’s friend, Taipei’s Asian record holder Chao-Tsun Cheng, had said that it would take 88m to win here. That is exactly what the Indian did, though Cheng was nowhere in the picture.

The 20-year-old now becomes the country’s first javelin thrower to strike gold at the Asiad. Just one effort, his first (83.46m), was enough to bring him the gold. And the big one, the 88.06 that broke his three-month-old national mark of 87.43, came in the third round. He had another quality throw of 86.36m. Incidentally, even his poorest throw on Monday (83.25) would have fetched him the gold. China’s Liu Quizhen (82.22) and Pakistan’s Nadeem Arshad (80.75) took the other two medals.

Thank God: Dharun Ayyasamy bettered his own 400m hurdles national record set a few months ago while finishing second.

“The preparations were very good, I had expected to break the Games record (89.15) but the javelin elevation was high, so it didn’t go far,” said Chopra.

Shivpal Singh, the other Indian in the fray, was eighth with a shockingly poor 74.11m.

India also won three more silver medals through 400m hurdler Dharun Ayyasamy, long jumper V. Neena and steeplechaser Sudha Singh.

Dharun was lying third with about 40m to home but he fought hard at the finish to pip Japan’s Abe Takatoshi for the silver behind Qatar’s Mauritania-born Abderrahman Samba. The 21-year-old’s time of 48.96s bettered the national record he had set in Patiala (49.45) a few months ago.

“I just thought I’d get a bronze, this is a big surprise,” said Dharun.

Another one in the kitty: Sudha Singh, second from left, added a silver to the gold she won in 2010.

Neena, meanwhile, had expected China’s Asian leader Xu Xiaoling to produce all the fireworks in women’s long jump. But it was Vietnam’s Asian champion Bui Thi Thu Thao who walked away with the gold with 6.55m while Neena’s 6.51m brought her the silver and Xiaoling took the bronze with 6.50.

“For the last two years, Bui has been my biggest stumbling block. She has been beating me wherever I go. She beat me at the last Asians too in Bhubaneswar,” said Neena, the daughter of a daily wage earner from Kozhikode, who is coached by Romanian Bedros Bedrosian.

Sudha, who won the steeplechase gold in 2010, brought the other silver, finishing behind Bahrain’s Nigeria-born Winfred Yavi in 9:40.03s.

“People had written me off because I was 32 but the federation had faith in me, I think I have repaid that now,” said Sudha.

In other action, Anu Raghavan clocked a personal best of 56.92 to finish fourth in the women’s 400m hurdles while high jumper B. Chethan was eighth with 2.20m.


Courtesy: The Hindu

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