Aruna Darshana wins the 400m at the Asian Junior Championships (JAAF) © Copyright
Report Gifu, Japan

Darshana dazzles at Asian Junior Championships

Sri Lanka’s Aruna Darshana broke one of the oldest championship records at the Asian Junior Championships to win the 400m in 45.79 in Gifu on Friday (8).

Darshana’s winning time not only broke the championship record of 45.85 that had stood since 1999, but he also improved on his own national junior record.

Compatriot Pasindu Kodikara followed more than a second behind to secure a Sri Lankan 1-2 finish in 46.96.

Just two hours after Darshana’s victory, another championship sprint record nearly fell.

Indonesia’s Lalu Muhammad Zohri won the 100m in 10.27 (0.6m/s), just 0.01 outside the championship record from 1986 and 0.02 shy of his own national junior record. It was just the second gold medal won by Indonesia in the 32-year history of these championships.

China, as expected, dominated both 10,000m race walk finals.

One month after missing out on an expected medal at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships Taicang 2018, Ma Li won in Gifu with a championship record of 45:20.59.

Japan’s Nanako Fujii, who finished third in Taicang, earned the silver medal in front of her home crowd with a PB of 45:24.35.

Hao Gong made it a Chinese race walk double, winning the men’s race in 42:47.98. And, as was the case in the women’s race, Japan picked up the silver medal with Sho Sakazaki finishing a few seconds adrift (42:53.56).

Mikuni Yada earned the host nation’s first gold medal of the championships, winning the women’s 5000m in 16:32.65. Syunto Ozaki added to Japan’s tally by winning the men’s pole vault with 5.20m.

The women’s triple jump was one of the closest contests of the championships so far. Vietnam’s Thi Ngoc Ha Vu sailed out to a wind-assisted 13.22 (3.2m/s) with her opening leap. It remained as the leading mark throughout the competition but China’s Youqi Pan landed just one centimetre short of the mark with her final jump. Her 13.21m leap with a legal wind of 1.7m/s would have likely been farther had she benefited from the same wind as Vu.

China has dominated the women’s throws so far, with Mengyuan Zhou winning the hammer with 64.81m and Linru Zhang taking shot put gold with 16.05m.

India enjoyed a 1-2 finish in the men’s hammer. Ashish Jakhar struck gold with 76.86m while compatriot Damneet Singh secured silver with 74.08m.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF