A dehydrated Arpinder Singh ended India's 48-year long wait for a gold in triple jump at the Asian Games with an effort of 16.77m even as he had aimed at shattering the national record, in Jakarta, on Wednesday.
India's last Asian Games gold medal in men's triple jump had come in 1970 from Mohinder Singh Gill.
Arpinder, who has been without a medal in multi-sporting events since winning a bronze in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, produced his best jump of 16.77m in his third attempt.
The 25-year old said that his performance dipped because of a training in UK, where he could not adjust to new training methods.
Ruslan Kurbanov of Uzbekistan took the silver with a best jump of 16.62m while Shuo Cao of China was third with an effort of 16.56m.
Today's mark of Arpinder was, however, well below his season best of 17.09m which he did during the National Inter-State Championships in June, which had put him at number three in the Asian rankings.
He has a personal best of 17.17m. He had finished fifth in the 2014 Asian Games.
Arpinder said he had come into the Asian Games looking to break the national record which is in the name of Renjith Maheshwary (17.30m).
"It's gold, so it's okay but I wanted to go better than the national record. I was dehydrated after three jumps, that's why there were fouls after that. The performance was going up and down. My calves were hurting," Arpinder said.
He said he endured a tough time after winning the bronze at the 2014 Glasgow CWG.
"I left for UK for training under John Herbert. However, it led to a dip in form. My coaching style, food, everything changed. Even the weather was different so my performance went down. I had to cook myself and ride a bicycle seven kilometer one side."
"That was really tough time. It's not that the coach was not good but the methods were different. I could neither jump with the technique I had learnt from beginning nor could I adapt the new one. So I came back in 2016 and started from scratch and joined the national camp. Now I have won the biggest medal of my career," he said.
Arpinder said he was initiated to athletics by his father.
"My dad was a kabaddi player in the army. He wanted me to continue playing sports. He kept pushing me to become sportsman. I started with 100 metres but I failed, I tried 200m and 400m but I could not do much there also. Then I took long jump and I failed there again."
"But my father remained persistent. SAI coach D S Bahl then asked me to take up triple jump in 2005-06. To be honest, I was not interested as I did not know anything about triple jump. But then I won a medal at the 2007 School Nationals in Kolkata," he said explaining how it all started.
Arpinder will next compete in the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic, representing Asia-Pacific team.