Pakistan's Ghulam Shabbir came up with a splendid performance to win the men's hammer throw with an effort of 59.16 metres and clinched his country's first gold, on the opening day of the South Asian Athletics Championships in Kochi.
The 36-year-old army havildar, who holds his country's national record at 63 metres, pushed India's Madhukumar (56.26m) and Jithender Singh (55.61m) to the silver and bronze medals respectively.
Shabbir cleared 54.50 metres in his first attempt and after a foul, cleared 58.33m in his third. He followed it up with throws of 57.41m, 58.47 and 59.16m.
Major Mahmood, the manager of the Pakistan contingent, expressed delight over Shabbir's performance.
"The athletes were tired as they reached Kochi last night only," he said.
India's V B Bineesh, Virender Kumar Pankaj and P Shankar qualified for the 400m finals, while in the women's section, Mandeep Kaur, Chitra K Soman and S Geetha booked their berths in the finals, which will be held on Friday evening.
In the women's 400m heats, Asian champion Chitra K Soman expectedly finished on top among five contestants, timing 54.85 seconds, followed by Sri Lanka's R M Chandrik Subashina (55.01) and Sumaira Zahoor of Pakistan (59.52).
Young Mandeep Kaur, who had won the silver in the 400m at the Federation Cup recently, topped the first heat with a timing of 54.86 seconds, while another Indian S Geetha had a time of 57.95 secs.
Eight countries had confirmed participation in the championships but Afghanistan had backed out at the last minute.