India [ Images ] won its first gold medal in track and field at the Asian Games through its women's 4x400 metres relay team on Tuesday.
The quartet of Sati Geetha, Pinki Paramanik, K Chitra and Manjeet Kaur, running in lane 5, overcame a strong field to win the race in 3:32.95 seconds.
After a slow start, Chitra's powerful burst down the straight in the third lap enabled the Indians forge ahead. Manjeet Kaur then came up with a superb anchor that left the field way behind.
A little earlier, Sinimole Paulose ran a brave race in a very strong 1500 metres field to finish with a bronze medal.
Sinimole, the 23-year-old Kerala [ Images ] runner, timed 4:15.09 seconds.
The race was won by favourite Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain (4:08.63). Japan's Yuriko Kobayashi took silver in 4:14.96 seconds.
Sinimole had finished fifth in the 800 metres, clocking a personal best of 2:03.76 seconds. This evening though she could not match her 1500m best of 4:14.7 seconds, which she had clocked at Colombo earlier this year.
The other Indian in the fray -- O P Jaisha -- did not finish the race.
Sinimole ran a technical race. She paced herself well and in the last lap got among the medal winners, managing to pip Vietnam's Thanh Hang Troung for the bronze.
Troung clocked a personal best of 4:17.66 seconds for fourth place.
However, India's medal hopes in women's 4x100m relay were shattered when the quartet of Jyothi Manjunath, Deepthi Jose, Nidhi and Poonam Tomar finished fifth despite clocking a season's best of 46.29 seconds.
The Indians lost the medal because of a technical fault. They had a false start and were warned. That affected their next start which was bit late. China took the gold with a season's best timing of 44.33s. Japan (44.87s) and Chinese Taipei (45.86s) were second and third.
The men's 4x400 metres relay team, comprising Aboo Backer, Joseph Abraham, Bhupinder Singh and K M Binu, billed as a strong gold medal contender, had to be content with the silver medal after timing of 3:06.65 seconds, well behind the Saudi Arabia team, which clocked 3:05.31 for the gold.
The Indians were in a relatively good position till the second lap but Bhupinder started to lag behind in the third. And despite a valiant effort, Binu could not overtake his Saudi opponent in the home stretch.
With the addition of three more medals, India completed their engagements in the athletics arena with a haul of one gold, five silver and four bronze medals -- a disappointing show, considering that the team had won as many as seven gold medals in the last edition of the Games in Busan.
In the men's triple jump, Ranjeet Maheswary took fourth position with a personal best of 16.54m, but finished well behind the top three.
China's Li Yanxi produced a personal best of 17.06m to grab the gold while Roman Valiyev (16.98) of Kazakhstan and Kim Deok Hyeon(16.87) took silver and bronze respectively.
Sunil Kumar could not make much of an impression in the men's 5000m run, finishing fifth with a personal best timing of 13:58.50 seconds while compatriot Surendra Kumar Singh took sixth position with a personal best effort of 13:59.05s.
Qatar's James Kwalia Karui brought plenty of cheer to the home country by pocketing the gold with a timing of 13:38.90 while Bahrain's Mucheru Salem Jawher (13:41:10) and Qatar's Sultan Khamis Zaman (13:45.91) were the silver and bronze medal winners.
In the women's pole vault event, V S Surekha finished a disappointing sixth with an effort of 3.80m. The women's 4x100 metres relay team comprising Jyothi, Deepthi Jose, Nidhi and Poonam Tomar had to be content with the fifth place despite a season best timing of 46.29 seconds.