Asian Games athletics: Indian campaign starts with two golds, a silver

Sunday, November 21, 2010

GUANGZHOU - Indian athletes put on a scintillating display on the opening day of the track and field compeitition at the Asian Games, with Preeja Sreedharan and Sudha Singh winning golds in the women’s 10,000 metres and the 3,000 metres steeplechase events here Sunday.

In the 10,000 metres, Preeja and Kavita Raut won the gold and silver. Preeja clocked a personal best timing of 31:50.47 seconds to win the first athletics gold for India at the Guangzhou Games.

Kavita also registered her personal best timing of 31:51.44 seconds.

“My coach said if I ran my own pace I would definitely get the gold. I ran my own style and my own pace and I won. I didn’t think about the other competitors,” said Preeja, dedicating the win to her mother and brother. “I won because of good practice and good training,” added the athlete from southern Kerala.

In a neck-and-neck finish, Sudha beat China’s Yuan Jin for the gold with a personal best timing of 9:55.67 seconds. Yuan, who challenged Sudha in the final few metres, had to settle for a silver, clocking 9:55.71. Japan’s Minori Hayakari settled for the bronze in 10:01.25 secs.

In the 400 metres, Manjeet Kaur (53.13 secs) and Mandeep Kaur (53.93 secs) qualified for the final race.

But there was disappointment in store in the men’s 20km walk. Harminder Singh and Baljinder Singh finished sixth and seventh. The Indians were in the leading pack for the first two kilometres of the event, but kept falling as it progressed. Harminder clocked 1:26:33 seconds and Baljinder 1:28:06.

Chinese Wang Hao and Chu Yafei won the gold and silver while the bronze went to Hyunsub Kim of South Korea at the Aoti Main Stadium.

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