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October 12, 2002 | 1235 IST

Sunita Rani wins bronze
in 5,000 metres

Ace long distance runner Sunita Rani claimed the bronze medal in the women's 5,000 metres to fetch the lone medal for India in athletics at the 14th Asian Games in Busan on Saturday.

After the dazzling performance on the first four days of the track and field events, it was a rather uneventful outing for the Indians who could manage just one medal with none of the other athletes in action being able to make much of an impact.

With the addition of one more bronze medal to the kitty, India's tally in athletics went up to 13 -- six gold, four silver and three bronze medals.

The 23-year-old Sunita, who had clinched the gold medal in the women's 800 metres on Thursday, could not match the speed and stamina of the Chinese and Japanese runners though she did reasonably well to break the existing Games record along with six other competitors.

Sunita tried to keep pace with the first two runners till the midway stage of the race before falling back to eventually finish with a timing of 15:18.77 seconds on a day which saw the Chinese athletes doing the bulk of the medal grabbing.

A last minute inclusion in the squad, Sunita had slipped to the fifth position at one stage but did well to recover in the last two laps to make it to the podium.

The gold medal in the event was bagged by China's Yingiie Sun, who established a new Games record, clocking an impressive 14:40.41 seconds while the silver medal was taken by Japan's Kayoko Fukushi with a timing of 14:55.19 seconds.

Proving to be far superior than most of the competitors in the fray, Sun maintained her lead right through the gruelling race and beat a couple of runners by more than a lap when she crossed the line.

"I knew it was going to be tough since the Chinese and Japanese are very strong in this event. I just wanted to improve my performance and am happy with the bronze medal," Sunita said.

Hardeep Kaur took the fourth position in the women's hammer throw, hurling the iron ball to a distance of 59.36 metres, which was not good enough for a medal.

Hardeep achieved her best throw in the fifth attempt after her effort to improve upon the throw in the previous attempts did not bear fruits as it was a foul throw.

China's Yuan Gu did not face much of a challenge as she pocketed the gold medal in the event with a throw of 70.49 metres while compatriot Yinghui Liu won the silver medal with an effort of 66.73 metres.

In the men's 1500 metres, India's Kuldeep Kumar was a bit of a disappointment as he finished seventh with a timing of 3:49.37 seconds, with Bahrain's Rashid Ramzi taking the honours with an effort of 3:47.33 seconds.

In the men's javelin throw, Harminder Singh finished sixth with an effort of 75.93 metres, falling well behind the top three finishers. He achieved his best throw in his fourth attempt.

China's Rongxiang Li put up a sterling performance to grab the gold with a throw of 82.21 metres though falling well short of the Asian Games record of 83.38 metres, which stands in the name of Zhang Lianbiao of China.

The men's 4 x 400 metres relay team, comprising Jata Shankar, Paramjeet Singh, Satbir Singh and Bhupendra Singh kept their medal hopes alive by qualifying for the final after finishing second in the heats with a timing of 3:05.14 seconds.

The strong Sri Lankan and Philippines also made it to the final by finishing first and third in the first heat.

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