By Mikhil Bhat/Doha
Chinese women combined for a sizzling championship record and world leading time of 42.87 seconds in the 4x100m relay, even as 4x400m mixed relay saw a thrilling debut at the Asian Athletics Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium yesterday.
The quartet of Liang Xiaojing, Wei Yongli, Kong Lingwei and Ge Manqi were driven by purpose, having lost to Bahrain at the 2018 Asian Games by a whisker.
Yesterday, with smooth baton changes and some blistering speed, they stepped on to the top podium together for what was China’s second gold of the day.
“We wanted badly to win today, because at the previous Championships we lost to Bahrain. We had a very good race with smooth baton changes. We can run faster though and reach the final at the World Championships in Doha later this year,” said China’s Xiaojing.
A few minutes later, even though the Chinese men went past the finish line first, they were later disqualified for lane infringement, handing Thailand, who had run a championship record in the heats the day before, a victory in a time of 38.99 seconds.
The disqualification also meant that Oman won their first medal of the championships after they were upgraded to bronze behind Chinese Taipei.
In the first mixed relay of the competition, the final lap saw Arokia Rajiv jostling for the inside line with Bahrain’s Abbas Abubaker on the first bend, with the latter taking the advantage and finishing in a time of 3:15.75, while India took silver in a time of 3:16.47. The Japanese quartet took home the bronze finishing a little less than four seconds later.
China’s two time pole vault winner Li Ling won her third title at the Asian Championships with 4.61m effort. The 29-year-old, who had already bagged the gold at 4.46m, aimed for the Asian record when she asked to push the bar up to 2.71m, but couldn’t clear the mark on either of her three attempts.
“Sadly I made some technical mistakes which I must avoid in my next competition, which will be the Diamond League in Shanghai,” Li said.
In the men’s Decathlon, it went right down to the wire, with a single point deciding the silver medal, even as Asian Games champion Keishuke Ushiro managed to hold on to his gold in a nerve-wracking finish.
In the deciding 1,500m race, Iraq’s Abd al-Sajjad al-Suaihawi, fifth in the overall standings, put in a blistering run, finishing almost seven seconds ahead of Kuwait’s Majed al-Zaid, who ran a 4:15.06 for his haul of 846 points. Al-Zaid’s haul wiped out second-placed Akhiko Nakamura’s 36-point lead, giving the Kuwaiti a personal best and a national record haul of 7838 points, and taking silver by a point. Ushiro finished fourth in 4:42.68 for his haul of 664, which saw his winning margin whittle down to 34, but still good enough for a gold.
In the women’s Heptathlon, former Asian champion Ekaterina Voronina of Uzbekistan won the 800m run in a season’s best time of 2:15.26, helping her to the gold with a world leading 6198 points. The 2018 Asian Games gold medallist Swapna Barman had to settle for silver with a tally of 5993, after she finished third in the 800m behind Japan’s Yuki Yamasaki. China’s Qingling Wang took bronze with 5829 points.
Bahrain’s Winfred Mutile Yavi ran to her second gold of the competition, when she ran her season best 9:46.18 in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase. Yavi, the Asian Games gold medallist, had won gold in the women’s 5000m on the first day.
China Shuangshuang Xu edged out Tigest Mekonen (9:53.96) of Bahrain for the silver with a time of 9:51.76. Bahrain’s Shitaye Habtegebrel won the women’s 10,000m gold, ahead of Japan’s Hitomi Niiya and India’s Sanjivani Baburao Jadhav.
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