India’s 800m versatile runner Beant Singh was in the spotlight on Day 2 of the 1st Asian Youth Athletics Championships, held at Qatar Sports Club stadium in Doha.
The young Indian was in a class of his own in the two-lap event and strode to a comfortable victory, clocking 1.51.11, the third fastest time in the world this year in the youth category.
“I was feeling really good for this race and I have been preparing really well for this competition, so to win is a great satisfaction,” said the winner, who added “I have only been in athletics for a short time, two or three years. I was a wrestler before and I was picked for a national team camp by World Champion and Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar. It was at this moment that I noticed I had a talent for middle distance running and I was encouraged to switch to athletics. Sushil remains a very big inspiration for me.
“Next stop for me is the World Youth Championships in Cali. I have set big expectations for myself - I want to beat the Indian national record there. The record is 1:52.26 and I know I can run in the 49's - I have done it in training and I aim to run it at the Championships.”
Singh’s was India’s first gold medal at these Championships, after one silver and two bronze medals on Day 1; and just a couple of hours later Tadwi Kishan Narshi made it two, by winning the 3000m in an equally dominant with a time of 8:26.24. Yemen’s Yaser Salim Ba Gharb who, due to the ongoing turmoil in his country, has been living and training in Doha ever since the end of the World Cross Country Championships at the end of March, brought his country a rare medal, by finishing third in 8:37.65, right behind Japan’s Chihiro Ono (8:37.29).
Day 2, however, really belonged to China, whose athletes added four more gold medals to their tally, after capturing two on the opening day. As expected, the Chinese athletes dominated the Girls’ throwing events as well as walking. Shang Ningyu threw 66.59m, a new personal best that moves her up to fourth in the 2015 world list, while her fellow compatriot Yao Kailun was second with 60.16m. In the Shot Put, China’s Liu Ziyue tossed 16.08m in her final attempt and dramatically edged Korea’s Yuri Lee, who trailed with 16.00m after being in the lead from the very first throw.
To no one’s surprise, China won the Girls’ 5000m Walk, which was held at 7:30 in the morning with Ma Zhenxia finishing in 23:45.19. Deng Xuelin was equally superb and stormed to an easy 100m Hurdles victory with a time of 13.62s, right before the curtain to fell to bring an end to Day Two.
Earlier on, South Korea had also celebrated their maiden victory at the 1st Asian Championships, courtesy of Youngbin Kim in Long Jump. Kim was in second place until Round 4 with 7.13m, behind Japan’s Yugo Sakai who had jumped 7.31m in his third attempt, but the Korean produced a massive leap measuring 7.49m on round 5 to snatch the gold medal.
Day 2 proved to be a day of firsts, as Kuwait won their maiden gold medal as well, Mohammad Alferas accumulating by far the largest amount of points in the Decathlon. The Kuwaiti ran 10.9s in the 100m, leaped 6.54m in Long Jump, tossed 12.76m in Shot Put, jumped 1.88m in High Jump, finished in 50.49s in the 400m, ran 14.60s in the 110m Hurdles, threw 30.48m in the Discus and 48.63m in the Javelin, jumped 3.40m in the Pole Vault and finally clocked 4:54.0 in the 1500m for a total of 6,671 points, the third best mark in the world this season. India’s R. Rajesh was a distant second with 5,867 points.
For full results and photos please visit athleticsasia.org.
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