Jakarta: Jinson Johnson produced an amazing run to outrun a colourful field to reclaim Men’s 1500m gold medal for India after a gap of 56 years, when Mohinder Singh won at this very stadium during 1962 Asian Games.
The Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, which has been a theatre for many a major multi-sport events since it was inaugurated, yet again provided a stage for India to assert itself in disciplines that have been India’s forte since long.
No wonder, the women quartet of Hima Das, MR Poovamma, Saritaben Gayakwad and Vismaya VK, raced to the day’s second gold medal to bring some cheers to the Indian camp after the high-flying hockey stars vanished behind the Malaysian clouds.
The two gold and as many bronze medals from the track and field events, which finished on Thursday, took the country’s overall medals tally to 59-five short of best-ever show when India won 64 in 2010 Guangzhou.
Armyman Johnson etched his name in the record books when he ran a steady but confident race to win 1500m in 3 minutes 44.72 seconds-a redemption for losing out on 800m gold to his teammate Manjit Singh.
Johnson, who had to settle for silver in the 800m event on Tuesday, began the 1500m well, keeping pace with the leaders throughout. With his face straining and teeth clenched, he picked up the pace around the final bend, galloping past Iran’s Amir Moradi, who turned in a timing of 3:45.62sec, his season’s best effort. Ending with a bronze was Bahrain’s Mohammed Tiouali (3:45.88).
Johnson had emerged a strong contender for an Asiad medal following his strong display at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, where he broke Bahadur Prasad’s national record in the 1500m event, finishing his run at 3:37.86.
Manjit, who too was part of the field, however, huffed his way for the most part and ended in fourth place in 3:46.57.
Manjit had a golden chance to create a new record of 800-1500 double that no Indian male athlete has achieved at the Asian Games. It was in 1998 Bangkok Games when Jyotirmoyee Sikdar won a 800m-1500m double.
Minutes after Johnson’s impressive run, the relay team also cruised to the gold in 3:28.72, which was more than enough to see off Bahrain and Vietnam.
India, who are the Games record holders, got off to a good start thanks to Hima, who powered to the lead on lane six. Poovama maintained that advantage at the first exchange, meaning Saritaben and Vismaya did not have too much trouble to see the race through. The women’s relay team has now won the gold at every Asian Games since 2002.
Men quartet get silver
While the men’s 4x400m relay team was unable to replicate the success of the women, they nonetheless collected a silver, as Kunhu Muhammed Puthanpurakkal, Dharun Ayyasamy, Muhammed Anas and Rajiv Arokia finished in 3:01.85, behind Qatar, who went on to set a Games record.
Earlier in the day, PU Chitra and Seema Punia had also added to India’s tally, winning bronze in the women’s 1500m and discus throw events respectively.
The 23-year-old Chitra finished third in the 1500m event with a timing of 4:12.56, behind Bahrain’s Kalkidan Befkadu and Tigist Belay. Seema, meanwhile, won her bronze with a throw of 62.26m.
- India’s gold haul of seven is its second-best equalling the seven gold medals won in 1978 and 2002 Games. The highest number of gold won by India is 10 at the first Asian Games in 1951 in New Delhi.
- India’s total haul of seven gold, 10 silver and two bronze (19 medals) is the best athletics total outside India.
- The two best totals by Indian athletics squad are 31 medals (10 gold, 10 silver and 11 bronze) in 1951, 20 medals (4 gold, 8 silver and eight bronze) in 1982. Both those editions of the Games were held in Delhi.
- This was the fifth time in a row the Indian women’s 4x400m relay team had won gold. They won gold in 2002 Busan, 2006 Doha, 2010 Guangzhou and 2014 Incheon. The common runner between 2014 and 2018 teams was MR Poovamma.
- Jinson Johnson’s 1,500m win was the first by an Indian since 1962, when Mohinder Singh (not to be confused with triple jumpers Mohinder Singh Rai and Mohinder Singh Gill) won the gold. The last Indian to win a 1,500m medal was Bahadur Prasad in 1998 Bangkok.
- Seema Punia’s bronze medal in women’s discus was the sixth successive medal in the event for India at Asian Games. Seema won the gold in 2014; Krishna Poonia won bronze in 2010 and 2006 and Neelam Jaswant Singh won gold in 2002 and bronze in 1998.
- Indian men’s 4x400m relay silver was their first medal since 2006, when they won silver in Busan. India has now won the 4x400m relay silver eight times in Asian Games.
- India’s only gold medals in 4x400m relay were in 1951 Games and in 1962 when the Games were last held in Jakarta and had Milkha Singh, Makhan Singh, Jagdish Singh and Daljit Singh.
Men: 1500m: 1. Jinson Johnson (Ind) 3:44.72; 2. Amir Moradi (Iri) 3:45.62; 3. Mohammed Tiouali (Brn) 3:45.88; 4. Manjit Singh (Ind) 3:46.57.
5000m: 1. Birhanu Balew (Brn) 13:43.17; 2. Albert Rop (Brn) 13:43.76; 3. Tariq Ahmed Alamri (Ksa) 13:56.49…6. Lakshmanan Govindan (Ind) 14:17.09.
4x100m relay: 1. Japan 38.16s; 2. Indonesia 38.77; 3. China 38.89.
4x400m relay: 1. Qatar (Abderrahman Samba, Mohamed Abbas, Mohamed Mohamed, Abdalelah Hassan) 3:00.56 GR, AR; 2. India (Kunhu Muhammed, Dharun Ayyasamy, Muhammed Anas, Rajiv Arokia) 3:01.85; 3. Japan (Julian Walsh, Yuki Koike, Takatoshi Abe, Shota Iizuka) 3:01.94.
50K race walk: 1. Hayato Katsuki (Jpn) 4 hr 03 min 30 sec; 2. Qin Wang (Chn) 4::06:48; 3. Hyunmyeong Joo (Kor) 4::10:21…DQ. Sandeep Kumar.
Women: 1500m: 1. Kalkidan Befkadu (Brn) 4:07.88; 2. Tigist Belay (Brn) 4:09.12; 3. Chitra PU (Ind) 4:12.56.
Triple jump: 1. Olga Rypakova (Kaz) 14.26m; 2. Parinya Chuaimaroeng (Tha) 13.93; Thi Men Vu (Vie) 13.93.
Discus throw: 1. Yang Chen (Chn) 65.12m; 2. Bin Feng (Chn) 64.25; 3. Seema Punia (Ind) 62.26.
4x100m relay: 1. Bahrain 42.73s GR; 2. China 42.84; 3. Kazakhstan 43.82.
4x400m relay: 1. India (Hima Das, Poovamma RM, Saritaben Gayakwad, Vismaya VK) 3:28.72; 2. Bahrain (Aminat Jamal, Iman Essa, Edidiong Odiong, Salwa Naser) 3:30.61; 3. Vietnam (Thi Oanh Nguyen, Thi Hang Nguyen, Thi Ngoc Hoang, Thi Lan Quach) 3:33:23.