Jakarta: Dutee Chand redeemed herself on Sunday with a Asian Games silver medal after losing two years in a dogged fight to prove that she was indeed a “legal female” on a day when Indians painted the Jakarta sky with a hue of silver at the spectacular Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
Three silver medals came from athletics in the evening after the long distance runner Govindan Lakshmanan, who finished third, was disqualified for straying out of the track.
Dutee was fourth fastest off the blocks with a reaction time of 0.149 seconds running in Lane 7, but the Nigeria-born Edidiong Odiong gained distance with her smart pace despite starting slow before crossing the finish line in 11.30 seconds for the Women’s 100m gold medal for her adopted country, Bahrain.
Dutee, whose career was blotted after she was dropped from the 2014 Commonwealth Games squad at the last minute under citing female hyperandrogenism, somewhat regained her lost glory given that this medal came on a bigger stage-second only to the Olympics.
Dutee was home in 11.32 seconds, followed by Chinese Yongli Wei (11.33) as women sprinters set the evening alight.
Edidiong, who had represented Nigeria at the international level, switched her allegiances to Bahrain in 2014 ahead of the Rio Olympic Games and went on to become World Junior champion in 2016. She made it to the semifinals in Rio and also at the 2017 World Championship in London.
Bingtian’s Games Record
Chinese male sprinter Bingtian Su bettered the colour of his medal won in 2014 Incheon when he paced to a new Games Record to cross the finish line in 9.92 seconds in the Men’s 100m run.
Qatari Tosin Ogunode (10.00) and Ryota Yamagata (10.00) were separated by 2000th of a second to arrive at who won silver and bronze medal.
Hima wins silver
The day began on a high for India with Hima Das winning silver medal in Women’s 400m flat race and Muhammed Anas following it up over the same distance in the men’s section.
Hima’s silver came with a new national record of 50.79, while the pre-race favourite Salwa Naser won gold with a new Games Record of 50.09. Another Indian in the fray, Nirmala Sheoran, however, narrowly missed out on a bronze, clocking 52.96.
“I dont know how fast I can go. I don’t think about how fast I need to go. When a runner runs, they don’t think who is close or who is ahead or behind. We are just running,” Hima said after the race.
“She is a great player, a big player and to race against her twice, I learnt some things. How she runs with technique, that is what you see. I started only two years ago as an athlete,” Hima said about Edidiong.
“I’ve done well and [against] the big athletes at Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, running with them, you learn a lot. Every competition I know that you will have good competitors and I don’t think about that — I just think I should record my best time,” she further added.
Hima Das’ performance in the heats bore all the signs of something special ahead. Clocking 51.00, she went past Manjit Kaur’s 14-year old national record (51.05) set in Chennai. Only Bahrain’s Salwa Naser, who topped the heats on Saturday with a Games record timing of 50.86, came into the competition with a superior personal best of 49.08 to Hima’s 51.13, which the latter timed in Guwahati at the Inter-state nationals in June this year.
A month ago, Hima, 18, had become the first Indian track athlete to win a gold medal with a timing of 51.46 at the Under-20 World Athletics Championships. At the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, Hima finished sixth, competing against a stiff field of seasoned athletes.
“I’m happy with the silver”
Anas strikes too
Anas won silver with a timing of 45.69, finishing behind Qatar’s Abdalelah Hassan, who clocked 44.89, while the
other Indian in the fray, Rajiv Arokia, missed bronze, finishing fourth with a timing of 45.84.
Anas came into Sunday’s final having topped the list of qualifiers with a timing of 45.63 ahead of the Qatari Mohamed Abbas, who finished in 45.81 seconds.
At the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, the 23-year-old from Kerala had missed a bronze by hairs-breadth, clocking 45.31 and falling short of a bronze by 0.02.
It was also a historic appearance since Anas became only the first Indian since Milkha Singh in 1958 to compete in the final. The steady drizzle, Anas was to admit later, tightened up his muscles and turned his body stiff, affecting his race.
“My aim was to get a medal, the colour of the medal doesn’t matter. I am happy I got a silver. There were some issues at the start of the season. I wanted to train with my personal coach PV Jayakumar, but they asked me to attend the Indian camp. Anyway, I am happy I could end the season in a better way,” Anas said after the race.
Rajiv, who finished sixth in Saturday’s semifinals with a timing of 46.08, was first thrust into focus after his Asian Games bronze medal four years ago. He previously competed in long jump before switching focus to the 400m event. Son of a driver near Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, Rajiv began his journey in the sport with borrowed spikes.
Rose wins marathon
Bahrain’s Rose Chelimo won gold in the women’s marathon at the Asian Games as she crossed the finish line in a time of two hours, 34 minutes and 51 seconds, beating Japan’s Keiko Nogami by one minute, 36 seconds for silver, and North Korea’s Kim Hye Song by two minutes, 29 seconds for bronze.
Kenyan-born Chelimo’s gold appeared to be the first for Bahrain.