Jakarta: National record holder Arpinder Singh, who had gone medal-less in multi-sports events since rising into limelight on Wednesday redeemed himself in style by becoming the first Indian in 48 years to win triple jump gold medal after jumping a distance of 16.77 metres in his third attempt in the final at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
Triple jump had become a kind of pariah for India after Mohinder Singh Gill ruled in 70s-winning the gold medal with a Games Record in 1970 Bangkok Games. That was the year when Labh Singh matched Mohinder with a jump of 16.11, India enjoyed a 1-2 finish something that looked very much possible in Jakarta still three jumps, but AV Rakesh Babu fizzled out midway through with a jump of 16.40m.
Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Kurbanov won silver with a jump of 16.62m while China’s Shuo Cao won bronze (16.56m).
The field Arpinder had to face was no doubt had a pedigree of Chinese jumpers-Zhu Yaming and Cao Shuo-with personal bests of 17.23 and 17.35 respectively. Zhu is the reigning Asian champion, while Cao had finished fourth at the Rio Olympics.
Both, however had lower season bests, hovering in the 16m range, as opposed to Arpinder’s superior 17.09m.
Four years ago, Arpinder burst onto the scene with a personal best leap of 17.17m, breaking the national record and then going on to pick up a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Thereafter, a training base shift to London didn’t work too well for him and he failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016. The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games this year didn’t turn out to be as lucky for Arpinder as he narrowly missed out on a bronze having stayed in third-place contention for the most part of the competition with a best effort of 16.46m, before Cameron’s Marcel Mayack II overtook him in his last attempt with a distance of 16.80.
Wednesday’s mark of Arpinder was, however, well below his season best of 17.09m, which he did during the National Inter-State Championships in June, which had put him at number three in the Asian rankings.
Swapna adds to gold rush
Born with six toes, Swapna Barman on Wednesday became the first Indian woman to win heptathlon gold medal at the Asian Games.
With her biggest worry being finding right fitting competition shoes for the seven events she takes part in through the two-day event, Swapna made it possible in Jakarta with an amazing show of grace and grit.
Her compatriot Purnima Hembram narrowly missed out on a medal after finishing fourth with 5837 points. Barman ended the competition with 6026 points.
India’s previous best display in the heptathlon event had come through Soma Dutta, who had won silver in the 2002 and 2006 Asian Games. China’s Qingling Wang won silver with 5954 points while Japan’s Yuki Yamasaki won bronze with a tally of 5873 points.
Swapna, whose father suffered a stroke in 2013 and is bed-ridden gave her family much to cheer, specially her mother who picks leaves in a tea garden.
Right footwear, particularly for jump events had been her weak link. The extra width of her feet makes landing painful and shoes wear out quickly. On her debut at the Asian Games as teenager four years ago, she had finished fifth with total of 5178 points.
Dutee wins 200m silver
Earlier, Dutee Chand won her second silver at Jakarta Asian Games after finishing second in the women’s 200m final to become the first Indian women in 32 years to win medal in both 100m and 200m events at an Asian Games. Dutee clocked 23.20 seconds to finish behind Bahrain’s Edidiong Odiong, who won gold with a time of 22.96. China’s Yonglei Wei won bronze with a time of 23.20 seconds.
Dutee had earlier won silver in the 100m event, where Odiong had pipped her at the end in a photo finish. Thirty-two years ago at Seoul Games, PT Usha had achieved that feat when she won silver in the 100m and gold in the 200m and 400m races.
Dutee had earlier qualified for the final after finishing top of the standings in the semi-finals with 23.00 seconds. Odiong was second fastest in the semis with 23.01.
Dutee won two medals four years after she was told she would not be going to the Asian Games at all. After being told in 2014, that the biological nature of her body meant she couldn’t even be an athlete. She fought it and earned the right to compete again.
This was more than a medal.
“I had so much problems in 2014. So many people were saying such bad things about me. But I fought my case and returned and won a medal. People were thinking badly about me but now people are happy that I won a medal for the country,” said Dutee.
Khushbir 4th in 20k race walk
India’s Khushbir Kaur finished fourth in the women’s 20k race walk event on Wednesday. Khushbhir, who won silver medal in the 2014 edition, clocked one hour, 35 minutes and 24 seconds to finish one minute and 22 seconds behind bronze medallist Kumiko Okada of Japan.
China’s Jiayu Yang and Shijie Qieyang claimed the top two positions respectively.
Both clocked a Games record timing of one hour, 29 minutes and 15 seconds but Jiayu was declared the winner in a photo finish.
Another Indian in the women’s category, Soumya Baby and men’s 20km race walkers KT Irfan and Manish Singh Rawat were disqualified.
In the men’s race, China’s Wang Kaihua won the gold medal with a timing of one hour, 22 minutes and 04 seconds. He was 0.06 seconds faster than Japan’s Toshikazu Yamanishi. The bronze medal went to Jin Xiangqian, who posted 1:27:58.
200m: 1. Yuki Koike (Jpn) 20.23s (.228); 2. Chunhan Yang (Tpe) 20.23 (.230); 3. Yaqoob (Brn) 20.55.
Triple jump: 1. Arpinder Singh (Ind) 16.77m; 2. Ruslan Kurbanov (Uzb) 16.62; 3. Shuo Cao (Chn) 16.56…6. Rakesh Babu AV (Ind) 16.40.
Pole vault: 1. Seito Yamamoto (Jpn) 5.70m GR; 2. Jie Yao (Chn) 5.50; 3. Patsapong Amsam (Tha) 5.50.
Discus throw: 1. Ehsan Hadadi (Iri) 65.71m; 2. Saamah M-Al (Irq) 60.09; 3. Eissa Zankawi (Kuw) 59.44.
20K race walk: 1. Kaihua Wang (Chn) 1hr 22 min 04 secs; 2. Toshikazu Yamanishi (Jpn) 1::22:10; 3. Xiangqian Jin (Chn) 1::25:41…DQ. Irfan Kolothum Thodi (Ind); DQ. Manish Singh Rawat.
200m: 1. Edidiong Odiong (Brn) 22.96s; 2. Dutee Chand (Ind) 23.20; 3. Yongli Wei (Chn) 23.27.
High jump: 1. Svetlana Radzivil (Uzb) 1.96m GR; 2. Nadiya Dusanova (Uzb) 1.94; 3. Nadezhda Dubovitskaya (Kaz) 1.84.
20K race walk: 1. Jiayu Yang (Chn) 1::29:15 GR; 2. ShijieQieyang (Chn) 1::29:15; 3. Kumiko Okada (Jpn) 1:34.02.. Dq. Soumya Baby (Ind).
Heptathlon: 1. Swapna Barman (Ind) 6026 pts; 2, Qingling Wang (Chn) 5954; 3. Yuki Yamasaki (Jpn) 5873.
Indian performance in Men’s Triple jump at Asian Games
When Arpinder Singh won Gold, it was after a gap of 48 years that India won this event. Last medal from triple jump came in 1982.
1958: Mohinder Singh Rai (15.62) GR, gold
1966: Labh Singh (15.49) bronze
1970: Mohinder Singh Gill (16.11) GR, gold; Labh Singh (16.11) =GR, silver
1974: Mohinder Singh (16.25), silver
1982: Sammudi Balasubramaniam (16.14), bronze