Asian championships: Gomathi, Toor bag gold medals

Unheralded half miler Gomathi Marimuthu and shot putter Tejinderpal Singh Toor clinched a gold each to share the limelight as India bagged five medals on the second day of the Asian Athletics Championships here Monday. The 30-year-old Gomathi clocked a personal best time of 2 minute 02.70 seconds in the women's 800m race to open India's gold account.

"I did not realise till I crossed the finish line that I have won a gold medal. The last 150m was very tight race," Gomathi said later. National record holder and pre-competition favourite Toor's first round throw of 20.22m was enough to fetch him a gold in the men's shot put final at the Khalifa Stadium.

The 24-year-old Toor, who has a personal best of 20.75m, had entered into the championships as the season leader among the Asians and he lived up to the top billings. Shivpal Singh then added a silver in men's javelin throw by sending the spear to a distance of 86.23m, his personal best. In the process, the 23-year-old Shivpal also booked a berth for the World Championships to be held at the same venue in September-October as he crossed the qualifying mark of 83m.

Tejinderpal Singh Toor

Jabir Madari Palliyalil and Saritaben Gayakwad bagged a bronze each in men's and women's 400m hurdles respectively to swell the Indian medal tally. With the five medals on Monday, India's medal tally stood at 2 gold, 3 silver and 5 bronze. India had won 2 silver and 3 bronze on the first day on Sunday.

Sprinter Dutee Chand finished a disappointing fifth in the women's 100m dash final by clocking 11.44 seconds. She ran her worst race in the final after smashing her own national record twice in two days -- in the heats (11.28) on Sunday and semifinals (11.26) on Monday. Dutee had won a bronze in the 2017 edition in Bhubaneswar.

The first Indian medal of the second day came from 24-year-old Gayakwad who clocked 57.22 seconds to finish third in women's 400m hurdles, behind Vietnam's Quach The Lan (56.10) and Bahrain's Aminat Yusuf Jamal (56.39). His male counterpart Jabir then added a bronze by running the third fastest men's 400m hurdles by an Indian as he clocked a personal best of 49.13 seconds.

In the process, the 22-year-old Jabir joined national record holder Dharun Ayyasamy as the second Indian to qualify for the World Championships 400m hurdles event to be held at the same venue in September-October. The World Championships qualifying mark is 49.30 seconds.

Dharun, who set a new national record of 48.80 during the Federation Cup last month, missed this Asian Championships due to injury. Pre-race favourite Abderrehman Samba of Qatar won gold with a world leading time of 47.51 seconds. However in the men's 400m, India suffered setbacks as defending champion Muhammed Anas and last edition silver winner Arokia Rajiv failed to win a medal.

Rajiv finished fourth with a personal best time of 45.37 seconds while Anas, who has been struggling after a leg injury in an accident last year, ended at eighth with a time of 46.10 seconds. In men's 800m final, Muhammed Afsal finished seventh with a time of 1:54.68 while Asian Games silver medallist Jinson Johnson was not able to complete the race.

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