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October 8, 2002 | 1615 IST

Beenamol, Bahadur lead
India's resurgence

Ace middle-distance runner K M Beenamol and the experienced Bahadur Singh led an Indian resurgence by picking up a gold each as India bagged six medals from athletics on the second day of competition at the Asian Games on Tuesday.

After Anju George had set the tempo by claiming India's first gold medal in track and field in the women's long jump yesterday, Beenamol and Bahadur Singh stole the limelight, winning the women's 800 metres and men's shot put respectively.

Madhuri A Singh (women's 800 metres) and Soma Biswas (heptathlon) also brought cheer, winning silver medals while seasoned shot putter Shakti Singh and J J Shobha (heptathlon) won bronze medals.

With the addition of these six medals to their kitty on Tuesday, India's medal tally in athletics rose to seven - three gold, two silver and two bronze.

The 27-year-old Beenamol, who on current form was almost a certainty for gold, kept her reputation intact by running a tactical race. Lying in fifth place till the last 100 metres, she accelerated in the home stretch and went past compatriot Madhuri Singh to win by a margin of about six yards.

The ace Indian middle distance runner did not stretch herself in the first lap, as she was in the inner cluster, but came out from the second lane to overtake the others and finish in style.

"It's great feeling to have won the gold for the country. It was not such a tough race as I expected. I could have done better," Beenamol said after the gruelling race.

The Kerala runner gave a lot of credit to teammate Madhuri, who set up the race for her.

"She did very well and since the the whole race was quite slow, I did not have much difficulty in the final stretch," she said.

"I am basically 400 metres runner and knew if I could preserve something for the end, I could win the race. I started slowly keeping this in mind."

Although she did not come near her personal best timing, Beenamol clocked 2 minutes 04.07 seconds. Madhuri had to be content with the silver medal with a timing of 2:04.94 seconds. Uzbekistan's Zamira Amirova took home the bronze medal in 2:05.05 seconds.

The 29-year-old Bahadur Singh got only one throw right but that was enough to give him the gold, as he hurled the iron spheroid to a distance of 19.03 metres.

After his first throw was not measured, Bahadur got it right in the second attempt but was unable to improve upon that mark, fouling on all his subsequent throws.

"I just wanted to put everything for the sake of the country; I am glad that it has borne fruit. I am very happy that I could win the gold," Bahadur said.

Shakti Singh, who holds the Asian record of 20.60 metres, managed to clinch the bronze medal although he was tied with Kuwait's Ahmad Gholoum on 18.27 metres. The Indian was given the third position since he had a better second-best throw.

The silver medal in the event was pocketed by Qatar's Bilalsaad S Mubarak, who cleared a distance of 18.98 metres.

The women heptathletes also did the country proud as Soma Biswas (5899 points) and J J Shobha (5870 points) claimed the silver and bronze medal respectively to complete a satisfying day for India.

The gold went to China's Shengfei Shen, who accumulated 5911 points.

Sri Lanka's star sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe expectedly emerged as the fastest woman of the meet with a new Games record of 11.15 seconds in the 100 metres, while the honour of being the fastest man went to Saudi Arabia's Jamal Al Safaar in a time of 10.24 seconds.

India's Sarawati Saha finished seventh in the women's 100 metres, clocking 11.59 seconds, an effort which would not make her too happy since she is capable of returning better timings.

In the men's hammer throw, India's Pramod Tiwa finished sixth with a throw of 64.54 metres in his fifth attempt. Tiwari, who was not really a medal contender, did reasonably well considering the presence of the strong Japanese and Chinese throwers.

The hammer gold was annexed by Japan's Koji Murofushi, who touched a distance of 78.72 metres to establish a new Games record, while compatriot Hiroaki Doi took home the silver though falling well behind with 69.57 metres. China's Kuigang Ye took the bronze with an effort of 68.18 metres.

Before she won the women's 800 metres, Beenamol booked her berth in the final of her pet event, the 400 metres. The Railways athlete, running in heat two, finished third in a time of 53.21 seconds. Her best time in the distance is 51.47 seconds.

India's second entry in the same event, Jincy Philips also entered the final, finishing second in the first heat in a time of 53.88 seconds.

The final will take place on Thursday.

In the men's section, Beenamol's younger brother and national champion K M Binu entered the final of men's 800 metres. His time of 1 minute, 47.63 seconds was second best among the 12 finalists behind the 1:47.61 recorded by China's Li Huiquan.

In the men's 400 metres, P Ramachandran entered the final but Paramjeet Singh (47.50) bowed out in the semi-finals.

The two Indians running in the second semi-final finished fourth and fifth. Ramachandran's time of 47.42 seconds got him the eighth and last berth in the final.

Saudi Arabia's Hamdan O al-Bishi led the finalists with a time of 45.56 seconds.

Both the 400 and 800 metres finals will be held tomorrow.

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