Abhishek Pal opened India’s medal account in the Asian Athletics Championships with a bronze on the opening day of competitions.
Pal clocked 29 minutes 33.26 seconds to finish behind Ren Tazawa (29.18.44) of Japan and Koech Kimutai Shadrack (29:31.63) of Kazakhstan.
The-25-year-old Pal from Indian Army pushed hard in the last lap of the race to cross the finish line in 29:33.36 seconds to win the first medal for the Indian contingent on Wednesday.
While experienced javelin thrower Annu Rani missed the podium, she finished fourth with a throw of 59.10m. Middle-distance runner Lili Das too missed the podium in the women’s 1500m. She clocked 4:27 to finish seventh.
The competitor battled hot and humid conditions during the men’s 25-lap race. The athletes string out after two laps and Japan’s Ren Tazawa took the pole position. He wasn’t challenged by his rivals and eventually won gold with a time of 29:18.44 seconds.
Kazakhstan’s Shadrack Kimutai Koech took home silver with a time of 29:31.63 seconds.
Pal and compatriot Gulveer Singh stayed behind the leading runners for almost the entire race. Pal, however, pushed hard in the last lap and overtook tiring Japanese runner Yuto Imae, who was fourth, to cross the finish line in third place.
“I saw Imae slowing down in the last two laps. I gradually tracked him down and pushed hard in the last 400m to win bronze,” Pal said in the post-race interaction.
“The weather was okay at the start of the race, but was unbearable in the second half.”
The two Japanese in the race had sub-28 minutes to their credit. But local weather conditions took their toll on the competitors.
It was a sweet victory for Pal as he had finished seventh in the 10,000m at the 2019 Doha edition of the Asian Athletics Championships in Qatar.
“The bronze in the 10,000m has added to my confidence. I should do better in the 5,000m race,” Pal added.
Expectations were high in the women’s javelin throw but experienced Annu Rani came up with a series of 55.31m, 58.70m, 59.10m, x, 58.46m and 58.29m to miss out on a medal.
Annu had won silver (60.22m) at the 2019 Asian championship in Doha.
Japan’s Marina Saito won gold with a throw of 61.67m, while Liu Shiying of China clinched silver with a throw of 61.51m.
Sri Lanka’s Nadeesha Dilhani won bronze with a throw of 60.93m.
In the women’s 1500m, India’s Lili Das finished seventh with a time of 4:27.61. It was 1-2 for Japan in the 1500m. Nozomi Tanaka won gold with a time of 4:06.75 seconds, while compatriot Yume Goto clocked 4:13.25 to win silver. Gayanthika Thushari of Sri Lanka took home bronze with a time of 4:18.84.
Indian quarter-milers gave a good account of themselves in the preliminary rounds of the 400m.
Aishwarya Misha clocked 53.58 seconds to win her heat and advance to the final scheduled for Thursday.
Rajesh Ramesh (45.91 secs) and Muhammad Ajmal (45.75 secs) were impressive in the men’s 400m semis on Wednesday. Both have qualified for the final.
In the decathlon, Tejaswin Shankar was leading the field on day one with 4124 points.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)