Paris World Championships bronze medallist Anju Bobby George, discus thrower Anil Kumar and heptathlete J J Sobha won gold medals as India scooped nine medals from athletics at the inaugural Afro-Asian Games at Hyderabad on Wednesday.
It was India's best day at the Gachibowli athletic stadium, which saw former world champion and veteran sprinter Frankie Fredericks adding to the star value of the Games.
Fredericks, who last week triumphed at the All Africa Games, air dashed to the city and later won the men's 200m gold in 20.57 seconds and anchored the Namibian team to gold in the 4x100 metres relay.
India's silver winners today were Saraswati Saha (women's 200m), Jasmine Kaur (10,000m) and Arun D'Souza (3000m steeple chase).
Finishing in third place to win the bronze were Jagdish Bishnoi (javelin) and Soma Biswas (heptathlon) and the men's 4x100 relay quartet of C T Durai, Sandeep Sarkaria, Piyush Kumar and Sanjay Ghosh.
Anju was satisifed with her performance today though it was well below her personal best as well as her world championship mark of 6.70m.
Without straining a sinew, Anju leapt to a distance of 6.53 metres with a headwind of 0.7 metres per second. She had won the Busan Asian Games gold with an identical effort.
"I did not exert myself in view of lack of stiff competition and at the same time wanted to win the gold medal for India. I will be concentrating on my training in Bangalore for the Olympics after a month's stay at home," she said.
Leading the field from the third event of the gruelling heptathlon, J J Shoba maintained her form in the three events that were held on Wednesday.
She finished first in 800m, the last event, and garnered 811 points to aggregate 5884 points for the gold. South Africa's Justine Gail Robbeson (5587) and Soma Biswas (5532) finished second and third respectively.
In men's discus, Anil Kumar was at his best and he began with an impressive heave that measured 58.16m. The Indian, who fine-tuned his skills in Hungary, then improved it to 60.68, which fetched him the gold medal. Nigeria's Ugmu China (59.87m) and Oumar El Ghazaly (59.77) of Egypt settled for silver and bronze medals respectively.
In the men's 200 metres, Fredericks was the hot favourite to win and the 36-year-old won in style.
A four-time Olympics silver medallist, who had competed with top sprinters from Carl Lewis to Donovan Bailey and Michael Johnson, and also won the 1993 World title in 200 metres, was never in trouble as he raced to victory.
It was a case of came, saw and conquered as he landed in the city only this morning and without any practice at the track here, Fredericks got off to a good start and never relented before breasting the tape in 20.57 secs.
India's Piyush kumar finished seventh amongst the eight participants. Kazak's Gennadiy Chernovol (20.81 secs) and Senegal's Oumar Loum (20.99 secs) won the silver and bronze respectively.
200m: 1. Frankie Fredericks (Namibia) 20.57 secs; 2. Chernovol Gennadiy (Kazakhstan) 20.81 secs; 3.Loum Oumar (Senegal) 20.99 secs;
1500m: 1. Abdlallam Mohammed (Sudan) 3 min 40.17 secs; 2. Peter Ashak Abaih (Sudan) 3 min 40.21 secs; 3. Benjamin Chediinyot (Kenya) 3 min 40.65 secs;
3000m Steeplechase: 1.Kemboi John (Kenya) 8 min 56.43 secs; 2.Arun D'souza (India) 9 min 0.597 secs; 3.Chelimo Joel Kiptanui (Ken) 9 min 24.08 secs;
4x100m relay: 1. Nambia 39.07 secs; 2. Senegal 39.58 secs; 3. India 39.64 secs.
Long Jump: 1. Mohamed Nabil Adamou (Algeria) 7.93 m; 2. Ndiss Kaba Badji (Senegal) 7.86 m; 3.Khoto Godfrey Mokoena (SAfrica) 7.76 m.
Javelin: 1. Hardaus Piennar (SAfrica) 84.50 metres; 2. Rongixang Li (China) 79.01 metres and 3. Jagdish Bishnoi (Ind) 75.34 metres.
Discus: 1. Anil Kumar (Ind) 60.68 metres; 2.Ugmu China (Nigeria) 58.27 metres, 3.Oumar El Ghazaly (Egypt) 59.24 metres.