Swapna Barman adds heptathlon silver to India’s medal haul
Doha, April 22: Swapna Barman secured the heptathlon silver medal with 5993 points in the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships at the Khalifa Stadium here on Tuesday to take India’s medal haul to 11. Shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor had picked up India’s second gold medal late on Monday evening.
The 22-year-old Swapna Barman found it hard to bridge the gap that she had conceded to 2015 champion Ekaterina Vornina (Uzbekistan) on the first day after the shot put despite chalking up a personal best of 12.76. She made a game bid at the long jump pit by being the only one to go past the 6m mark but her 6.01m effort was worth only 49 points more than the Uzbek’s 5.85m jump.
Purnima Hembram, the other Indian hepathlete in the fray, could not recover from a disappointing 11.58m-effort at the shot-put circle and trailed in the fifth place with 5529 points. She had a good 5.99m show at the long jump pit but a 39.70m javelin throw gave her poor returns and she could not get in the medal reckoning.
India’s new-look women’s 4x100m relay team of Archana Suseendran, Veeramani Revathi, Kunnath Ranga and Dutee Chand clocked 43.81 seconds, an improvement over the 44.12 clocked in the confirmatory trials in Patiala on April 13, and yet finished fourth behind China, Kazakhstan and Bahrain. Only two-tenths of a second separated the Indian team from a podium finish.
Dutee Chand recovered from the disappointment of not winning a medal in the women’s 100m to post a reasonably quick 23.33 seconds time in finishing ahead of the pack in the 200m semifinal heats. She rallied over the last 50m to push China’s Kong Lingwei to second place.
Looking for a 200-400 double, Bahrain’s Salwa Naser broke Sri Lankan Susanthika Jayasinghe’s championship record of 22, set in Colombo in 2002, with a time of 22.84 seconds. The 100m winner Ogla Safronova clocked 22.98 seconds to be the second fastest qualifier ahead of Dutee Chand.
Ajay Kumar Saroj showed a good turn of speed after the bell to qualify for the men’s 1500m final in a time of 3:49.20. Running well within himself over 1100m, he moved up from seventh to look like winning the faster of the two semifinal heats but eased up in the final 10m for Bahrain’s Mohamed Ayoub Tiouali to sneak ahead. Jinson Johnson did not start, owing a calf muscle injury.
Parul Chaudhary clocked a personal best time of 10:03.43 to finish a creditable fifth in the women’s 3000m steeplechase.
On Monday evening, Tajinderpal Singh Toor gave India its second gold medal with a 20.22m throw to top the men’s shot-put competition. Going in as favourite, the Asian Games champion handled the pressure well with a series of good throws. He was looking for a 21m throw but had to settle for five throws in the 19m range.