04 July 2018
Bangkok (Thailand). Kunwer Ajairaj Singh Rana was the star of the show for India on the opening day of the Asian Area qualification leg of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games currently underway in Bangkok, Thailand. The 18-year-old javelin thrower managed to both win the gold medal and qualify for the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Buenos Aires in Argentina in October. The Punjab based athlete threw the spear to a distance of 76.13 m to storm to victory. The throw was nearly four meters further than that managed by second placed Kentaro Nakamura of Japan, who threw 72.04m.
Rana might not have been the favourite before the competition as his personal best until then was 68.94m which he had managed at the Junior Federation Cup in April this year. However, Rana surprised everyone at the Thai Japan Bangkok Youth Center with the throw of the competition. Indian athletics would have more to celebrate with another athlete – Vikas Yadav –claiming the third step of the podium. Yadav won a bronze medal with a throw of 68.65m. Yadav though missed out on a Youth Olympic quota spot with only the top two athletes winning places for the Games. Yadav would be particularly disappointed as he fell short of his personal best of 75.02m. If he had matched that throw in Bangkok, he would likely have made the cut.
Also earning quota places along with medals for India was middle distance runner Tai Bamhane. With the top three athletes of the race earning qualification for the Buenos Aires Games, the 15-year-old from Maharashtra claimed a silver medal in the women’s 1500m race in a time of 4:25.66 seconds. She finished behind Yuki Kanemitsu of Japan who clocked 4:24.21 seconds. Guiping Zhang of China was a distant third with a time of 4:30.45 seconds. Bamhane’s time was the fastest of her career, bettering the 4:36.61 seconds she had clocked at the Junior Federation Cup in April this year.
Narrowly missing out on a quota place for Argentina was hurdler Aparna Roy who fell short despite managing to set a new personal best with a time of 13.98 seconds to claim a bronze medal in the 100m hurdles. Roy’s previous best had been a time of 14.01 seconds that she had set at the Junior Athletics Championships in Vijaywada in November last year. With only the top two athletes winning quota spots for the Youth Olympics, Roy will have to be satisfied with the bronze medal she won behind Ting Wei Lin of Chinese Taipei and Yiru Dai of China who clocked 13.63 seconds and 13. 76 respectively.
Also due for disappointment was sprinter Nisar Khan. The 17-year-old from New Delhi had a personal best of 10.76 seconds, which he had set at the Khelo India Games in February this year but was well short of that in Bangkok. Although the eight best athletes at the Games would qualify for Buenos Aires, Nisar only managed a time of 11.20 seconds to finish 12th in the competition.