The previous medal in the Javelin throw - a bronze - for India came in the 1982 which was won by Gurtej Singh with an effort of 71.58.
Neeraj was huge favourite for the Gold and he did not disappoint. Before the start of this event only Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Chaotsun, held a superior personal best - 91.36m - to Neeraj’s 87.43.
Two others - Japan’s Ryohei Arai and Chinese Taipei’s Huang Shihfeng wrere in the vicinity of 86m range.
Neeraj started with a throw of 83.46 which virtually assured him of a Gold medal. He improved upon this in his third attempt in which he threw 88.06 and which turned out be his best. He had two more throws of 83.25 and 86.36 in his fourth and fifth attempts.
His team mate Shivpal Singh was placed 8th.He had only one legal throw of 74.11m, which was his first attempt.
China’s Liu qizhen with his personal best of 82.22 took the silver while Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem was third for bronze with 80.75.
“I am absolutely thrilled” said Neeraj” When I was selected to be the flag bearer of the Indian Contingent, I promised myself that I will live upto the expectations of my country. I am so happy to have fulfilled that dream”.
“I am also honoured that I am the first Indian to have won the Gold in Javelin throw in Asian Games. It is a big achievement”.
This year has been fabulous for the young thrower .After claiming gold at the Commonwealth Games, he hogged the limelight when he had record-breaking throw at the Doha Diamond League erasing the previous national record of 86.48m, which also stood in his name.
Neeraj first burst into the scene with a world record throw of 86.48 at the U-20 World junior athletics championships and spent the better part of last season without a coach.
His team mate Shivpal Singh, who had one legal throw of 74.11 was placed eight. China’s Li Qizhen took the silver with 82.22 while Arshad Nadeem of Pakistan was third with 80.75.
Sudha Singh clocked 3000m steeplechase with a timing of 9:40.03. Bahrain’s Winfred Yavi won gold with a timing of 9:36.52.
At 32, one of the seniormost members of athletics squad, Sudha had won the 3000m steeplechase in Guangzhou eight years ago and also won gold at the Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar in 2017. Two-time Olympian, she had qualified for the Asian Games with a timing of 9:39.59, well above the Asian qualifying norm of 9:50.
Dharun Ayyasamy clocked a personal best timing of 48.96 seconds. The other Indian in the fray, Santhosh Kumar Tamilarasan, was fifth in , 49.66.
Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba, claimed gold with a Games record timing of 47.66.
A visible thrilled Dharun said “I didn’t run well, I couldn’t improve upon my performance of 49.45 in March. I have been preparing for the Asian Games for the past one year so I came here hoping to break the national record.”
The 21 year-old from Tirupur (Tamil Nadu) Dharun said, “I wasn’t looking at the first guy (Samba) because I knew he has among the fastest timings, instead I just focused on the Japanese guy (Takatoshi Abe, who finished third today) and told myself I have to go past him.”
“I managed to do that. I came here with just with the thought of wanting to make it a 49s national record. I will focus on that in the upcoming tournaments,” he added.
Neena Varakil won silver in long jump with a mark of 6.51m.Her compatriot Nayana James finished 10th with 6.14. Indonesia’s Thi Thu Thao Bui, won the gold as she jumped 6.55m.
At the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships, Neena and Nayana James took home the silver and bronze medals respectively. Later that year, Neena also won gold at the Asian Grand Prix.
“I was hoping to win a medal in the Asian Games and I am excited that i won one,” Neena said. (UNI)