Silver for K M Binu in men's 800m
Middle distance runner Kalathumkuzhiyil Mathew Binu drew inspiration from his elder sister and gold medallist K M Beenamol to spring a major surprise and clinch the silver medal in the men's 800 metres as Indian athletes swelled their tally to an impressive eight medals in the 14th Asian Games on Wednesday.
After the rich harvest of six medals on Tuesday, the 22-year-old Binu, not really among the pre-Games medal prospects, provided India a bonus by winning the silver from a tough field.
It was the second medal from the Kalathumkuzhiyil family
after Beenamol's women's 800 metres gold on Tuesday.
It turned out to be India's lone medal on a day which saw
the Chinese scoop the bulk of gold medals on offer and
three Games records rewritten.
Binu gave a fine exhibition of tactical running to take the second position with a timing of 1 minute, 47.57 seconds, though he was unable to pose much of a challenge to Bahrain's Rashid Mohammad, who took the gold medal, clocking 1:47.12 seconds. The bronze went to China's Huiquan Li, who timed 1:47.77 seconds.
Binu was leading coming into the home stretch when he and Mohammad had a slight brush, which both athletes later said was unintentional.
"I always had the chance of winning a medal. I was eager to do well for the country.
"I should have waited till the last 100 metres for the final burst, then, maybe, I could have won the gold medal," the Railways athlete said, analysing the two-lap race.
The youngster also said he was inspired by the deeds of his more famous sister, the lone Indian to reach the semi-finals in the 400 metres in the Sydney Olympics.
"If I make any mistake she (Beenamol) corrects me. Last
night also she was teaching me how to run," he added.
Binu's superb effort on the track was not the only bright
spot for India, as Saraswati Saha and Vinitha Tripathi (women's
200 metres) and Anuradha Biswal (100 metre hurdles) booked their places
in Thursday's finals.
Saha, who finished seventh in the 100 metres final on Tuesday, led the field, clocking 23.51 seconds in the second heat. Vinitha Tripathi also qualified with a time of 23.94 seconds, which gave her
the fifth place in heat one.
In the 100 metres hurdles, Biswal qualified for the final, finishing
second in heat two, with a time of 13.49 seconds.
China's Yun Peng was the leader, completing the distance in 13.06 seconds.
Among the other Indians in the fray, P Ramachandran
finished fifth in the men's 400 metres with a timing of 46.15 seconds
while Anand Menezes failed to qualify for the 200 metres final.
Ramachandran could never really recover from a poor start
and despite a valiant burst in the home stretch could not
come anywhere near the top three finishers.
"I had taken the track with a positive frame of mind
although I knew that the competition would be very tough. I
tried my best but it was not good enough to beat the others,"
Kuwait's Fawzi Al Shammari claimed the gold medal in the
event with a timing of 44.93 seconds and, in the process, equalled
the Games record, established by
Ibrahim Ismail Mufta at the 1994 Hiroshima Games.