Parul, Annu clinch gold as track and field athletes shine at Asian Games

NEW DELHI: India’s Parul Chaudhary displayed tremendous determination and character to clinch a gold medal in the women’s 5000m at the Asian Games in Hangzhou on Tuesday.
Annu Rani also grabbed a gold medal — becoming the first Indian woman to secure the top prize in women’s javelin throw at the continental event. In the 2014 edition, Annu had secured bronze medal.
The track and field athletes claimed a total of 6 medals on Day 10 of the Games. With two gold, two silver and two bronze, India’s medal tally from athletics rose to 22 (4 gold, 10 silver, 8 bronze), surpassing the 20 medals that the country had achieved in 2018 edition. This has already become the highest number of medals in athletics after the 34 won in the inaugural edition in 1951.
In the women’s 5000m event, Parul, 28, stayed in the top two before stepping up in the final moments to pip Japan’s Ririka Hironaka for the top position with a timing of 15:14.75.
For Parul, it was a second medal at the continental championships after she had claimed a silver in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase on Monday.
Sunita Rani (silver in 1998 and bronze in 2002), OP Jaisha (bronze in 2006), Preeja Sreedharan (silver in 2010) and Kavita Raut (bronze in 2010) have earlier won Asian Games medals for India in women’s 5000m race.
The 31-year-old Annu, who hails from Meerut, produced a season-best effort of 62.92m in her fourth attempt to win gold. Sri Lankan Nadeesha Dilhan and China’s Huihui Lyu claimed the silver and bronze with efforts of 61.57 and 61.29 respectively.
For India, Barbara Webster (bronze in 1951), Elizabeth Davenport (bronze in 1962) and Gurmeet Kaur (bronze in 1998) have earlier won Asian Games medals in the competition.
Mohammed Afsal Pulikkalakath fetched a silver in the men’s 800m with a timing 1:48.43.
Earlier, Vithya Ramraj, 25, came up with a timing of 55.68s to claim a bronze medal in women’s 400m hurdles. It wasn’t her best show but it was good enough to secure her a third place. Bahrain’s Oluwakemi Mujidat Adekoya produced a games record of 54.45s and Jaidie Mo of China came up with a season best of 55.01 to claim the gold and silver respectively.
The Indian had equalled PT Usha’s 400m hurdle national record, which was set in 1984, with a personal best effort of 55.52s to top her heat and directly qualify for the final on Monday.
Ramraj was also part of the Indian quartet, including Muhammed Ajmal Variyathodi, Rajesh Ramesh and Subha Venkatesan, that had won the bronze in mixed team 4x400m relay before it was upgraded to silver on Monday after Sri Lanka’s disqualification for lane infringement.

The Grand Canal in Hangzhou

Tejaswin Shankar won a silver medal in men’s decathlon while Praveen Chitharavel fetched bronze medal in men’s triple jump.
It was India’s first men’s decathlon medal since 1974. Vijay Singh Chauhan was the last Indian to win a decathlon medal in Asian Games in 1974, while the national record belonged to Bharatinder Singh (7,658 points).
In men’s 400m hurdles, Yashas Palaksha (49.39) and Santhosh Kumar (49.41) finished fifth and sixth respectively in the final.
In women’s high jump final, Pooja and Rubina Yadav ended their campaign at the sixth and ninth positions respectively.
(With inputs from PTI)
Watch ‘Very happy with the silver medal’, says long-jumper Murali Sreeshankar

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