Kazakhstan's Olga Rypakova in action in the triple jump at the Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat (© Organisers)
Olga Rypakova drew on her years of experience to capture a career fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts gold medal in the triple jump in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on Tuesday (19).
The 2012 Olympic champion eventually triumphed in convincing fashion with a jump of 14.32m to add to the long jump gold she won in the Indoor Athletics Arena on Monday. But the Kazakh, the clear favourite after winning bronze at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 in August, put pressure on herself by failing in her first two jumps that left her one red flag away from a shock exit.
The vastly-experienced athlete played it safe with her third leap, taking off before hitting the board to register 13.96m – almost a metre further than anybody had jumped to that point.
With the pressure off, Rypakova then powered out to within eight centimetres of the Games record she set in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2009 when she also sealed the jumps double.
Mariya Ovchinnikova made it a Kazakh double celebration by taking silver with 13.21.
Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar, like Rypakova a bronze medallist from London, broke the Games record with his dominating performance in the 400m.
The Sudan-born flyer clocked 45.68 to slice 0.40 off the 10-year-old mark, with Mazen Mawtan Alyasen of Saudi Arabia claiming silver with a personal best 46.35 and Mikhail Litvin of Kazakhstan winning bronze in 46.51.
But there will be no double for Haroun, who opted to conserve his energy and finished last in his 800m semi-final less than an hour earlier.
“I put it in my mind, but it was just 45 minutes between races. It was too close so I decided on the 400m and just go as fast as I could," Haroun said. “I am so happy with the gold.”
Hassan Taftian of Iran clearly held something back in his semi-final as he powered to victory in the men’s 60m from the outside lane, breaking his own Iranian record with a new mark of 6.55.
Fellow reigning Asian indoor champion Viktoriya Zyabkina triumphed in the women’s 60m in 7.32 to add to Kazakhstan’s golden haul.
Elina Mikhina won the women’s 400m in 53.37 to make it three on the night and six in all for the Kazakh team who head the medal table.
Lakshmanan Govindan had too much firepower for his 3000m rivals as the Indian Army runner struck gold in 8:02.30.
India had more success in the women’s 1500m with Chitra Palakeezh taking the victory in 4:27.77.
The three medallists in the men’s long jump were separated by just four centimetres as the crowd were treated to a thrilling climax to the second day of action.
Tien Trong Nguyen of Vietnam won gold with his third-round leap of 7.48m, edging out Amila Wijayalath Pedige of Sri Lanka whose effort of 7.45m saw off Chan Ming Tai of Hong Kong by the narrowest of margins.
Sergey Grigoryev of Kazakhstan received his pole vault gold medal in the victory ceremony just 24 hours after being taken to hospital when landing on his back attempting to break his own Games record.
Organisers for the IAAF