Hangzhou, Sep 30 (IANS) India picked up two unexpected medals in the Asian Games track and field competitions on Saturday as distance runners Karthik Kumar and Gulveer Singh bagged a silver and bronze respectively in the Men’s 10,000m race while the country found the going tough in the men’s and women’s 400m races at the Hangzhou Olympic Stadium here on Saturday.
Karthik and Gulveer clocked their personal best times as they finished behind Bahrain’s Birhanu Yemataw Balew to claim for India the first 2-3 finish in the 19th edition of the Asian Games.
Karthik, the 24-year-old Armyman from Uttar Pradesh who along with Gulveer joined the Reliance Foundation’s High-Performance programme late last year, clocked 28 minutes 15.38 to claim the silver medal while Gulveer finished in a time of 28:17.21 to bag the bronze medal. Balew took the gold medal in 28:13.62.
Their timing is the Indian all-time second and third-best-timing and is next in line following the National Record by their coach Surender Singh — 28:02.89 set in 2008.
It was a great performance by both Karthik and Gulveer as they came up with their best efforts. It is the second day in running that India has picked a medal from the track and field competitions that they had not expected. Kiran Baliyan claimed a silver medal in the women’s shot put competition on Friday.
Karthik made a fast start and completed the first 1000m in 2:51.76 and was ahead on the timing at the 2000m mark, having completed it in 5:45.70. Japan’s Ren Tazawa led till the 6000m having a timing of 17:06.48. Fellow Japanese Kazurya Shojiri took over after that before he was reeled in in the final few laps as Balew took over the charge with 1000m to go for the finish. Karthik and Gulveer settled behind him and finished in second and third position respectively.
It was a slow race considering the Games record is 27:32.72 held by Sillisuma Shugi of Bahrain set way back at Guangzhou in 2010. The Asian record is 26:38.76 by Qatar’s Ahmad Hassan Abdullah set in 2003.
Earlier, in the women’s 400 metres final, India’s Aishwarya Mishra finished fifth with a timing of 53.50 while in the men’s 400m final, Muhammad Ajmal finished fifth with a timing of 45.97.
In the men’s long jump, Jeswin Aldrin and Murali Sreeshankar qualified for the final. Sreeshankar qualified in 7.97m while Jeswin made it with 7.67 as the best-placed jumper who did not achieve the automatic qualification distance.