Gomathi Marimuthu wins India’s first gold in Asian athletics championship

Doha: Unheralded half miler Gomathi Marimuthu won the women’s 800 m race to open India’s gold account in the Asian Athletics Championship, here Monday.

The 30-year-old Gomathi clocked a personal best time of 2 minute 02.70 seconds in the race to clinch the gold. “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.

Shot putter Tejinderpal Singh Toor too clinched a gold each to share the limelight as India bagged five medals on the second day of the Asian Athletics Championships.

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 billing.

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.

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.

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.