Tejinder Pal Singh at the Asian Games in Jakarta (© AFP/Getty Images)
Tejinder Pal Singh of India broke the Games record in the shot put to highlight athletics opening day at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta on Saturday (25).
Singh, the silver medallist in the event at the Asian Championships last year, opened the competition with a 19.96m effort and equalled that in the fourth round before throwing 20.75m in the fifth to break both Om Prakash Singh’s national mark of 20.69m set in 2012 and the 20.57m Games record held by Saudi Sultan Abdulmajeed since 2010.
"I had just one aim in mind. I wanted to clear 21 metres," Singh told The New Indian Express. "I did not think of gold. But I am happy with this. I was trying hard to break the national record for the last two to three years and it happened today, that too with a meet record."
Behind him the competition was modest with Lui Yang of China taking silver with 19.52m and Ivan Ivanov of Kazakhstan, the bronze with 19.40m.
Competition kicked off at 6am with the men's marathon which produced the closest race in Games history. Japan's Hiroto Inoue and El Hassan El Abbassi of Bahrain battled the high heat and humidity at the front of the pack, running together over the final 15 kilometres. Inoue made his decisive move over the final lap in the stadium to eek out the narrow victory. How close was it? Both men were credited with 2:18:22.
Luo Na led a Chinese 1-2 in the women's hammer throw, topping Wang Zheng by more than half a metre with a 71.42m effort to Zhang's 70.86m.
Daria Maslova of Kyrgyzstan kicked to a 32:07.23 victory in the women's 10,000m, well clear of Bahrain's Eunice Chumba, second in 32:11.12. Zhang Deshun of China, clocking a lifetime best of 32:12.78, took the bronze.
Sutthisak Singkhon of Thailand leads the decathlon after day one with 4239 points, more than 200 up on Gong Kewei of China, who's tallied 4033. Singkhon, 21, is the reigning Asian champion.
Favourite Salwa Naser of Bahrain led all qualifiers in the opening round of the women's 400m, clocking a 50.86 Games record. Crossing the line behind her in the opening heat was world U20 champion Hima Das in 51.00, clipping 0.05 from the Indian national record set 18 years ago.
The women's marathon opens the day's action on day two, with nine finals scheduled for the evening programme: the men's and women's 100m and 400m, men's 10,000m, long jump and hammer throw, and women's 100m hurdles and shot put.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF