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Indian athletes shine in field events
November 01, 2003 17:36 IST
African athletes cornered the glory at the Afro-Asian Games, accounting for more than two-thirds of the medal haul even as India matched China's five-gold haul in athletics.
While most of the African countries were without their big names, Asian giants China were also depleted.
India fielded a large contingent but their athletes were more successful in field events at the Gachibowli stadium.
China topped the medal list, winning five gold, seven silver and three bronze. India, Ethiopia and South Africa also won five gold, but the hosts finished second by virtue of winning six silver and five bronze medals.
As the Games were held during the 'off-season', there were no new marks during the three days of action.
For India, the best performers were World Championship bronze medallist Anju Bobby George, in the women's long jump; Neelam J Singh, in women's discus; heptathlete J J Sobha, Shakti Singh, in men's shot put, and Anil Kumar, in men's discus throw.
Anju, who cleared 6.70 metres to finish third at the Paris World Championships, easily won the gold medal in Hyderabad with a leap of 6.53 metres, the same distance which fetched her the gold medal at the Busan Asian Games last year.
After winning the gold medal, Anju said she lacked motivation since there was not much competition. "Moreover, this is off-season and I had not trained for this event. My training for the Athens Olympics will start after a month's break," Anju said.
If Anju earned India its first gold medal of the Afro-Asiad, Shakti Singh, the indomitable iron man had no difficulty in striking gold in shot put though his mark of 19.05 metres was much below his personal best.
Navpreet Singh Cheema collected the bronze medal in the event, while Busan Asiad gold medallist Bahadur Singh could finish only fourth.
Anil Kumar proved his mettle in the men's discus throw by winning the gold medal, while Neelam J Singh put aside an indisposition to clinch the gold in the corresponding event for women.
J J Shoba also stamped her mark on the Games by winning the energy-sapping heptathlon.
The Indian lass staged a fine recovery after trailing at the end of the first three events to win the last four, including the long jump and 800 metres, for a tally of 5848 points which fetched her the gold medal.
India's silver medallists were Arun D'Souza (3000m steeplechase, Sitaram Basat (10km walk), Saraswati Saha (women's 200m), Jasmine Kaur (women's 10km walk), Bobby Aloysius (women's high jump) and Gurmeet Kaur (women's javelin).
Finishing in the third place were the men's 4x100m relay team, Navpreet Singh (men's shot put), Jagdish Bishnoi (men's javelin), Madhuri A Singh (women's 1500m) and Soma Bbiswas (heptathlon).
The medal tally in athletics: