Indian track and field athletes put behind the disappointment of denying an additional medal in women’s 3000m steeplechase event as they picked up one silver and three bronze on the second day of athletics competitions at the Asian Games in Incheon today.
Woman race walker Khushbir Kaur clinched the silver medal in the 20km walk before 400m runners Rajiv Arokia and M R Poovamma grabbed a bronze each in men’s and women’s 400m race while Manju Bala secured a bronze in women’s hammer throw to add to the growing medal tally from track and field events.
Yesterday, Lalita Babar had won a bronze in the controversyridden women’s 3000m steeplechase event to open the medal count for the country. The jury’s decision to reinstate Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet as the gold medal winner after she had been stripped of the women’s 3000m steeplechase title for an infringement of the running rules did not go down well with the Indian camp.
However, cheers were brought to the contingent when 20km race walker Khushbir timed her race to perfection to clinch the women’s bronze medal in the gruelling event after being in third place consistently till between the 16 and 18km marks. Khushbir clocked 1 hour and 33.07 seconds to take the second spot behind China’s Lu Xiuzhi (1:21.52), who led from the start, and ahead of Jeon Yeonguen (1:33.18) who was overtaken by the Indian walker.
Khushbir, who scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a medal in race walk in the Asian Games, was cautioned twice during the race but kept on walking in a determined fashion. I led the field and then was cautioned and pushed to second place. I got cautioned again between 16 and 18 kms and was pushed to third place, before I decided to go for the gold. I could not do so. This is my first medal in the Asian Games, said Khushbir.
The evening programme saw Karnataka’s seasoned Poovamma make up for a slow start and get into medal contention on the back straight before settling for the bronze in 52.36, well below her personal best of 51.73 done in Lucknow during the National InterState Meet in June. The gold was won by yet another of Bahrain’s African import O M Adekaya in a fast 51.59 while Vietnam’s Quach Thi Lan picked up the silver in 52.06, her personal best.
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