Dominant China was on the roll yet again as host India suffered a dry day on the fourth day of the 20th Asian athletics championship at the Shiv Chhatrapati stadium, Balewadi, on Saturday.
With just seven titles on offer and that too none in the individual events in the track, which could be only be explained by the Asian Athletic Association and its technical committee, the Chinese took four of these — all in the women’s section.
The four also were laced by two new championship records as Li Ling climbed to a new height in the pole vault and former Asian record holder Li Lingwei sent the spear to a distance of 60.65 in the javelin throw.
Li Ling, a 25-year-old, was all class as she battled it out through the last two heights all by herself before clearing 4.54 and to go past the existing mark of 4.53m set by Gao Shuying in 2005.
Though the fray included nine, the real competition was only between Ling and compatriot Ren Mingqian, who, however, was forced to leave the field after 4.40m.
Lingwei on her part did encounter resistance from Sri Lanka’s Nadeeka Lakmali before she sealed the javelin gold at 60.65m, almost two metres ahead of the existing meet mark of 58.35m set by Buoban Thamang (Thailand) in 2007. Lakmali also bettered the old mark with an effort of 60.16m.
China’s domination in the women’s throwing events was complete when Liu Xiangrong asserted her supremacy in the shot put with a winning throw of 18.67m. Leyla Rajabi (Iran), who had won the bronze in Kobe, took the silver this evening with a best of 18.18m.
China also made light of the opposition from Japan and Thailand to take the gold in the 4 x 100m relay in the same vein as Wassana Winatho retained the two-day heptathlon title with a total of 5818 points.
In the men’s section, Dilshod Nazarov (Tajikistan) and Ali Zinkawi (Kuwait) renewed their old rivalry in hammer throw, which dates back to 2003 in Manila. Zinkawi was in the fray for a possible fifth title having won the event thrice in a row between 2003 and 2007 and then again in Kobe in 2011.
Nazarov was the winner in 2009 but had missed Kobe and as the two came across each other it was expected that the competition would reach newer horizons. However, it turned out to be a tame affair as the Tajik won with a throw of 78.32m which was never matched by his illustrious rival. Hong Kong won its first ever gold in the 4x100m relay being powered superbly by anchorman Chi Ho Tsui knocking out formidable opposition from Japan and China.
With one day remaining, China with a tally of 12 gold, 4 silver and 5 bronze medals, now is assured of the top position in the medals tally yet again. India stands sixth with one gold, three silvers and five bronze medals.