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Anju, Manjeet win India silver
December 11, 2006 09:01 IST
India's seasoned long jumper Anju Bobby George came out of a lean phase to clinch a silver medal while Manjeet Kaur had her moment of glory with a silver-winning display in the showpiece athletics event of the Asian Games in Doha on Sunday night.
The 31-year-old Anju, a star performer at the international level for long, reaffirmed her class with an effort of 6.52 metres on another reasonably fruitful day for Indians at the magnificent Khalifa stadium.
The Kerala athlete, who had won the coveted gold medal in the Busan Asian Games in 2002, was in the third position till she propelled herself to the second spot by recording her best jump in the sixth attempt.
After struggling to find peak form for most part of the year, it turned out to be an amazing turnaround in fortunes for India's most successful athlete who has the distinction of winning the bronze medal in the World Championships in Paris in 2003.
Japan's Kumiko Ikeda clinched the long jump gold with a leap of 6.81m, far ahead of Anju who had come into the Games without much medal expectations.
With two more silver medals in the kitty, India's medal count has gone up to four silver and a bronze medal after the first three days of track and field competition.
The 24-year-old Manjeet, a gold medallist in the Asian Athletics Championship in Incheon, stole the limelight with an effort of 52.17 seconds in the women's 400m run, which fetched her a silver medal.
The police officer got off to a good start and maintained her pace right through to finish behind Kazakhstan's Olga Tereshkova, who completed the race with an impressive timing of 52.17 seconds. The bronze medal in the event went to Japan's Asami Tanno.
"I wanted a gold medal but I am having problems with a knee and thigh injury. It did affect me today. But I am happy with the silver under the circumstances. A silver medal in the Asian Games is always special," Manjeet said.
Pinki Pramanik, tipped to be a strong medal contender before leaving for Doha, had to contend with heartburn as she missed a bronze narrowly, taking the fourth place by clocking 53.06.
"After some recent competitions in China I was unable to train, otherwise I could have won a medal. It's disappointing not to finish with a medal, but that is how things go," Pinki said.
Vikas Gowda, another athlete who was spoken as a medal prospect, finished a disappointing sixth in the men's discus throw event. Gowda's best of 58.28m came in his fifth attempt, but it was well behind the others in the fray.
The gold medal in the event was claimed by Iran Ehsan Hadadi, who hurled the disc to a distance of 63.79m, making it his best effort of the season.
Qatar's Rashid Shafi Al Dosari also produced a season's best effort of 62.11m to clinch the silver while the bronze was taken by Saudi Arabia's Sultan Mubarak Al Dawodi (60.80).
Chitra K Soman's presence on the track turned out to be short-lived as she failed to qualify to the final of the women's 200m run.
The 29-year-old Chitra, who has a lot of experience at the international level, finished fourth in her heat with a timing of 24.68 secs, which was well below her best effort.
Chatoli Hamza did not make much of an impression as he finished seventh in the men's 1500 metres final, though he did manage to bring a personal best timing of 3:43.69s.
Host country runner Daham Najm Bashair clinched the gold medal in the event with a timing of 3:38.06s. Bahrain's Belail Mansoor Belal (3:38.08) and compatriot Rashid Ramzi (3:38.91) bagged the silver and bronze medals respectively.
In decathlon, India's P J Vinod was in the second position after the first four events with a total of 4474 points.
Doha Asian Games 2006: The Complete Coverage