Discus thrower Vikas Gowda came a cropper once again outside the home environs while P T Usha's protegee Tintu Luka impressed by recording the best time among women's 800m finalists on yet another medal-less day for India [ Images ] in the Asian Games athletics in Guangzhou on Wednesday.
Twenty-seven-year-old Gowda, silver medal winner at last month's Commonwealth Games [ Images ] in New Delhi [ Images ], performed well below expectations by finishing fourth in a 11-man discus throw final with a best second attempt of 63.13m.
It was more than a metre and a half short of Mysore-born, US-raised Gowda's three-year-old personal and national best mark of 64.96m. Nor could he improved upon his CWG silver-winning effort of 63.69m.
The only consolation was that he improved his position by two places after finishing sixth in the 2006 Games at Doha.
The gold medal was won by Ehsan Hadadi of Iran with a near 7-metre throw of 6.99m which he achieved in his fifth attempt while the silver and bronze medal winners Dheeb Ahmed Mohammed of Qatar and another Iranian Samimi Mohammed were well behind with throws of 64.56m and 63.46 respectively.
The men's long jump final also did not have any Indian at the medal bracket.
Maha Singh and Ankit Sharma produced very modest leaps of 7.44m and 7.41m that stood out starkly when compared to gold medal winner Korean Kim Deokhyeon's season best of 8.11m. The silver was won by China's Su Xiongfeng (8.05) and the bronze was claimed by Saudi Arabia's Alsaba Hussain (7.96).
Young Kerala [ Images ] half-miler Tintu led from start to finish to win her heat comfortably in 2 minutes and 3.85 seconds and top the time charts among the finalists.
Tintu's time was better than that of Jamal Maryam Yusuf of Bahrain, a two-time world champion in 1,500m and the defending 800 and 1500 champion here, who clocked 2:04.54 while qualifying as the winner of heat number three.
The two-lap final, to be held tomorrow, could see Tintu give the Ethiopian-born Maryam a run for the gold along with heat number one winner Margarita Mastsko of Kazakhstan, who clocked 2:03.23 in heats while another Indian, Sinimol Paulose, also advanced by finishing third in heat number one in 2:03.83.
The corresponding men's final on Thursday would have no Indian presence as Francis Sagayaraj and Sajeesh Joseph failed to advance from the heats after finishing third in heat number two and one respectively with 1:50.18 and 1:49.58.
There would, however, be Indians racing in the finals of men's and women's 200m sprints and men's and women's 400m hurdles, also scheduled for Thursday.
Suresh Sathya qualified for the men's longer sprint event clocking 21.02 secs while coming home first in heat number three but compatriot Dharambir failed to do so after finishing fourth in heat number two in 21.52.
In the corresponding women's longer sprint, Satti Geetha qualified for the finals by coming up third in 24.08 in heat number two but Tiana Mary Thomas exited after clocking 24.62 while finishing fourth in heat number three.
In the men's 400m hurdles, Joseph Abraham came in second in the second heat, timing 50.93secs to advance to the final and in the women's 400m hurdles, two Indians -- A C Ashwini and Jauna Murmu -- made it to the title round by clocking personal bests of 56.43secs and 57.17secs in the first and second heats respectively.
At the halfway stage of the men's decathlon, Indian duo of P J Joseph and Bharat Inder Singh were trailing much behind the leaders at seventh and ninth positions with 3791 and 3171 points respectively at the end of the 100m, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400m hurdles.
The last five events -- 110m hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and 1,500m scheduled for Thursday.
The high point of the track and field events today was the men's 110m hurdles in which 2004 Athens Olympic Games [ Images ] gold-medallist and 2007 Osaka World Champion Liu Xiang led a home country 1-2 sweep of the medals leaving Korea's Park Taekyong to lift the bronze.
Xiang timed 13.09secs, his season's best, to win the gold while his Chinese compatriot Shi Dongpeng took the silver, also in a season's best of 13.38. The Korean came in third in a personal best of 13.48.