Winfred Mutile Yavi en route to the steeplechase title at the Asian Championships in Doha (© AFP/Getty Images)
Bahrain and China continue their dominance in Doha - Asian Championships, day 3
China and Bahrain continued their dominance at the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships in Doha on Tuesday (23).
Competing on an unseasonably cool evening in Khalifa Stadium - it was 26 C at the start of the session and dropped to 19 C by the start of the evening-capping women’s 10,000m - China took home another six medals, two of them gold while Bahrain, largely driven by their powerful middle and long distance corps, captured five, with gold accounting for three.
Yavi takes a middle distance double
Winfred Mutile Yavi did her part for Bahrain’s near-total dominance in the middle and long distances, adding the 3000m steeplechase crown to her 5000m triumph on Sunday to become these championships first double winner.
“It wasn’t easy,” the 19-year-old insisted.
Perhaps not, but Yavi, who took the Asian Games title and World U20 bronze last year, was on cruise control at the front from about 1900 metres into race and never relented, easily repelling the few challenges her challengers flung her way. She reached the line in 9:46.18, more than five seconds ahead of China’s Xu Shuangshuang, who passed Yavi’s teammate Tigist Mekonen over the final half lap to take silver in 9:51.76. Mekonen held on for third another two seconds back to take the bronze.
Shitaye Eshete Hebtegebrel kept that momentum alive with a convincing victory in the women’s 10,000m. Breaking from Japan’s Hitomi Niiya with just over a kilometre remaining, Eshete rolled on to a 31:15.62 victory, a championships record, and her second continental title over the distance.
“I have turned my focus to the marathon, so the race was a good test for me,” said Eshete, whose impressive portfolio includes career bests of 30:47.25 and 2:24:51 in the marathon. She’ll be running the Prague Marathon next month and said she’d be happy to contest both the 10,000 and the marathon when she returns to Doha for the World Championships five months from now.
Japan’s Hitomi Niiya, who led the race from the 1200m point until she was passed by Eshete with 1200m remaining, clocked 31:22.63, also well under the previous championships record, for silver. Further back, India’s Sanjivani Baburoa Jadhav was third with a 32:44.96 personal best to take the bronze.
Earlier, Bahrain took another gold, capturing the 4x400m mixed relay after a spirited battle with India in this event’s debut at these championships.
Muhammed Anas Yahiya and Poovamma Raju Machettira gave India a clear lead through the midway point, but 400m winner Selwa Naser pulled them back into contention with a 51.14 third leg to hand anchor Abbas Abubaker, the 800m silver medallist, a narrow lead at the bell. After a bit of scuffling for position, the Bahraini built a cushion over Arokia Rajiv as they entered the back stretch and held his position through the finish. Bahrain clocked 3:15.75, India 3:16.47 and further back, Japan 3:20.29 to take the bronze.
Pole vault title No 3 for Li
China’s first gold of the night came in the pole vault courtesy of Asian record holder Li Ling who captured a third continental title in the event.
Securing the gold with a first attempt clearance at 4.46m, she passed to 4.61m and needed all three tries before sailing clear. She then had the bar raised to 4.71m, five centimetres better than the championships record she set in Wuhan four years ago, but didn’t come particularly close.
“I made some technical mistakes which I must avoid in my next competition,” said the 29-year-old, who’ll make her next appearance at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai on 18 May.
Teammate Xu Huiqin was a distant second with 4.36m.
Then, in an even more dominating display, China added another victory in the women’s 4x100m relay, with Liang Xiaojing, Wei Yongli, Kong Lingwei and
Ge Manqi teaming to clock a 42.87 world lead and championships record, eclipsing the 43.10 another Chinese quartet ran in 2015.
Kazakhstan, anchored by 100m winner Olga Safronova, was second, in 43.36. Bahrain, anchored by Naser, was third in 43.61.
A few minutes later, China was first across the line in the men’s 4x100m ahead of an inspired Thai quartet that sped to a 38.72 championships record in the heats on Monday. But they were later disqualified for a lane infraction when their lead runner stepped out of his lane on the opening bend, giving the victory to Thailand who clocked 38.99.
Chinese Taipei, who clocked 39.18, were elevated to silver, and Oman, who clocked a 39.36 national record, to bronze.
Second title for Voronina
With victories in four of the seven events, Ekaterina Voronina won the heptathlon by over 200 points with a 6198 tally, another early season world lead just 14 points shy of her lifetime best.
The 27-year-old Uzbek began the day with a 29-point lead but put the competition out of reach with a 53.53m effort in the javelin, nearly seven metres better than the rest of the field.
Swapna Barman of India was a distant second with 5993.
Winning performances in the discus, pole vault and javelin propelled Keisuke Ushiro of Japan to the decathlon title. The 32-year-old tallied 7872 points to add the continental crown to his two Asian Games crowns. Majed Alzaid collected 7838 points, a Kuwaiti national record, to take silver by just one point over Japan’s Akhiko Nakamura.
Parinya Chuaimaroeng produced a come-from-behind victory in the triple to secure the first gold medal of these championships for Thailand. Chuaimaroeng leaped 13.72m in the final round to beat China’s Zeng Rui by seven centimetres. Vidusha Lakshani of Sri Lanka reached 13.53m to take the bronze.
Nadezhda Dusanova topped 1.90 on her first attempt to take the women’s high jump.
Naser began her busy day with a 22.84 personal best in the heats of the women’s 200m, setting up a face-off with Safronova, the 100m champion, who clocked 22.98, for a battle of would-be double champions on tomorrow’s final day of action.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF