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October 7, 2002 | 1400 IST

Anju George bags women's
long jump gold

Ace long jumper Anju George performed true to form to win the women's long jump at the Asian Games on Monday.

Anju George on the victory stand at the Asian Games The 24-year-old Kerala-born Tamil Nadu-based athlete leapt to a distance of 6.53 metres to finish well ahead of Japan's Maho Hanaoka [6.47 metres] and Kazakhstan's Yelena Kochsheyeva [6.30 metres], who won the silver and bronze respectively.

Anju, who had won a bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, with a distance of 6.49 metres, had recorded 6.74 metres, Asia's best this year, at a national meet in Delhi last month.

Apparently, she was not too happy with her effort since she had been clearing 6.8 metres in practice sessions of late. But she was not complaining.

"It is my first international gold so I will go back to India happy," she said.

"To win a medal in the Athens Olympics is now the dream," she added, while informing that she had set her sights on crossing the seven-metre mark in Busan.

Anju, who fouled three of her six jumps, blamed the runway for the event, at the Busan Asian Main Stadium, for not being able to achieve her target, saying it was "poor".

She now turns her focus to the triple jump, which be held on Sunday.

There was more joy for India as K M Beenamol and Madhuri Saxena won their respective women's 800 metres heats with the excellent timings.

Beenamol won the first heat in 2.08.74 seconds to enter final, while Saxena did even better in the second heat, winning in 2:08:65 seconds, which was the fastest time recorded in the event.

The final is on Tuesday.

In the men's 400 metres heats, Ramachandran Purakkotte finshed second in heat 2 with a timing 46.79 seconds to quaify for the semi-finals. Paramjeet Singh also qualfied with a timing of 47.58 seconds, coming fourth in heat 3. The semi-finals will be run on Tuesday.

However, there was disappointment for the Indian camp as Gurmeet Kaur failed to find a place among the medallists after finishing fourth in the women's javelin throw.

She registered a best throw of 54.78 metres, wich was way behind the gold medal-winning effort of Young sun lee of Korea, who posted 58.87 metres.

Lili Liang and Xiaoyan Ha, both of China, won silver and bronze respectively with throws of 58.77 and 58.29 metres.

In men's 10,000 metres final, Gulab Chand failed to finish the race. The event was won by Makhld Al Otaibi of Saudi Arabia, with a time of 28:41.89 seconds, while Ibrahim Ahmed Hashim of Qatar won the silver in 28:43.53 seconds and Abdul Hak Zakaria of Bahrain took bronze in 28:46.11 seconds.

In the women's heptathlon, Soma Biswas and J J Shobha are joint second with 3387 points after four events on Monday. Three more events -- long jump, javelin throw and 800 metres will be held on Tuesday.

Shen Shengfei of China leads the field with 3484 points.

China's Hailan Wang [3307 points], Japan's Yuki Nakata [3240] and Svetlana Kazanina of Kazakhstan [3291] are placed behind the Indians in that order.

Shobha finished first in the 200 metres and second in the 100 metres. However, a poor seventh in the high jump and a fourth place in the shot put proved costly for her in the placings.

Soma Biswas won the 100 metres and was second in the 200 metres, but finished fourth in the high jump and fifth in shot put.

Related interview
'To win a medal in your first major meet is an achievement'


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