Abderrahman Samba wins the 400m hurdles at the Asian Games (© AFP / Getty Images)
Another three Games records were broken on the third day of athletics at the Asian Games in Jakarta on Monday (27).
Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba arrived in the Indonesian capital as the hot favourite for the men’s 400m hurdles, having moved to second on the world all-time list earlier this year with his Asian record of 46.98.
It came as no surprise when he smashed the Games record of 48.42 with his winning clocking of 47.66. “I pushed it today as it was the final,” he said.
India's Dharun Ayyasamy secured the silver medal in a lifetime best of 48.96 ahead of Japan’s Takatoshi Abe who claimed bronze in 49.12.
Asian and Commonwealth champion Neeraj Chopra added another major title to his collection by winning the javelin with an Indian record of 88.06m. The 20-year-old opened with 83.46m and produced his winning effort in the third round
Chopra, who will next compete at the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich, missed the Games record of 89.15m set by China’s Zhao Qinggang in 2014. China's Liu Qizhen grabbed silver with a lifetime best of 82.22m, while Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem took the bronze medal with 80.75m.
Bahrain's Kemi Adekoya took the victory in the women’s 400m hurdles in style. The 2016 world indoor 400m champion improved on the Games record of 54.87 she set in the previous round, winning in a season’s best of 54.48.
Vietnam's Quach Thi Lan, who set another Southeast Asian record, was almost a full second behind in 55.30 to take her second Asian Games silver medal, having finished second in the 400m flat in 2014. Adekoya's compatriot Aminat Jamal claimed the bronze in 55.65.
Iran’s Hossein Keyhani smashed his PB to win the men’s 3000m steeplechase in a Games record of 8:22.79. Qatar’s Yaser Bagharab, who finished second behind Kayhani at last year’s Asian Championships, replicated that position with a time of 8:28.21, while Japan’s Kazuya Shiojiri was third in 8:29.42.
Bui gains revenge
At the 2014 Asian Games, Vietnam’s Bui Thi Thu Thao led the long jump final from the outset but was defeated by Indonesia’s Maria Natalia Londa who produced a final-round leap of 6.55m. Four years on from that defeat, Bui once again led from the opening round but this time her 6.55m leap held up as the best mark of the competition, earning her the first gold medal in athletics for Vietnam in the history of the Asian Games.
It was a close contest, though, as just five centimetres separated the top four women. India’s Neena Varakil took silver with 6.51m, while the bronze went to China’s Xu Xiaoling who registered 6.50m. Defending champion Londa had to settle for fifth place with 6.45m.
With the season having been cut short for world champion Mutaz Essa Barshim due to an ankle injury, the men’s high jump competition was thrown wide open. China’s Wang Yu clinched the title with 2.30m, while South Korea’s Woo Sanghyeok secured the silver medal as the only other athlete to clear 2.28m. Five other athletes cleared 2.24m, but Syria’s Majd Eddin Ghazal and Japan’s Naoto Tobe shared the bronze medal on count-back.
Bahraini teenager Winfred Yavi comfortably won the women’s 3000m steeplechase in 9:36.52. India's Sudha Singh, who was fourth in 2014, this time took the silver medal in 9:40.03, while Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Oanh finished third in 9:43.83 in a tight finish with Chinese athletes.
Seven gold medals will be awarded on day four (29), the women’s 800m, 5000m, pole vault and javelin, plus the men’s 800m and 110m hurdles. There is also a mixed relay that will be held for the first time at the Asian Games.
Jad Adrian Washif for the IAAF