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October 13, 2002 | 1100 IST

India claim three medals in athletics

Even as a dope test cast a cloud on the achievements of runner Sunita Rani, India's golden run in athletics continued, with other athletes winning four medals including a gold to record the country's best ever performance at the Asian Games.

The women's relay team clinched a gold medal in the 4x400 metres while high jumper Bobby Aloysius and the men's 4X400 metres relay team won silver each.

Discus thrower Anil Kumar also chipped in with a bronze on a fruitful day for the athletes, who swelled their tally to 17 medals -- seven gold, six silver and four bronze -- in the 14th edition of the Games.

However, India found itself in danger of being stripped of a gold and a bronze medal after distance runner Sunita Rani tested postive for banned substance Nandrolone.

The first dope test on Rani, who won gold in the women's 1,500 metres after setting a new meet record, and a bronze in the 5,000 metres, came out positive.

Chef de mission of the Indian contingent Jagdish Tytler said: "We have appealed for a B-sample which will be done on October 25. Till that time we should not draw conclusions. We have to wait for the B-sample report."

The women's 4x400 metres relay team, comprising Jincy Phillips, Manjeet Kaur, Soma Biswas and K M Beenamol stole the limelight by claiming the gold with a timing of 3:30.84 seconds.

The 26-year-old Bobby Aloysius, who missed a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, bagged a silver in the high jump here by clearing a height of 1.88 metres though it was short of her personal best of 1.90 metres.

Kazakhstan's Marina Korzhova was also awarded a silver medal for having cleared 1.88 metres along with Aloysius in the same number of attempts.

Bobby's effort fell short of Krygyzstan's Tatiana Efimenko, who bagged the gold with a 1.90 metres jump.

The men's 4x400 metres relay team, comprising P Ramachandran, Manoj Lal, Satbir Singh and Bhupendra Singh, also brought cheer by scooping the silver medal, returning a timing of 3:04.22 second.

Saudi Arabia won the gold, clocking 3:02.47 seconds.

Anil Kumar grabbed the bronze medal in the men's discus throw, achieving a distance of 59.81 metres though he was expected to do better.

The gold medal in the event was claimed by China's Tao Wu, who had an effort of 60.76 metres while Iran's Abbas Samimi had to be content with the silver, after throwing 59.81 metres.

Anju Bobby George, who had won a gold medal in the women's long jump event on the opening day of the athletics competitions, was distinctly unlucky not to add another medal to her collection as she finished fourth in the women's triple jump.

Anju and Kazakhstan's Tatyana Bocharova tied at 13.26 metres but the Kazakh was adjudged the bronze medal winner. China's Qiuyan Huan got the gold medal, posting a new Asian Games record of 14.28 metres, eclipsing the previous record of 14.27 metres established by compatriot Ren Riupeng.

The Indian girl achieved her best jump in the very first attempt but could not improve upon it in subsequent attempts. She was in third position till the sixth stage before Bocharova equalled her in the last attempt.

The Indians were a trifle disappointing in the 4x100 metres relays with the men's and women's teams finishing in fourth and fifth positions respectively.

The men's team, comprising Sanjay Ghosh, Piyush Kumar, Anand Menezes and Anil Kumar, were far from impressive, finishing with a timing of 39.36 seconds while the Thailand team of Reenchai Seeharwong, Vissanu Sophanich, Ekkachai Janthana and Sittichai Suwonprateep collected the gold medal with a new Asian Games record timing of 38.82 seconds.

The women's team of Jayalakshmi, Vinita Tripathi, Anuradha Biswal and Saraswati Saha finished the race with a timing of 44.74 seconds, well behind the first four finishers.

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