Manpreet Kaur, Govindan Laxmanan win gold in Asian Athletics Championships

blog by riya rathore

India’s Manpreet Kaur claimed the gold medal in the women’s shot put, while defending champion Vikas Gowda failed to retain his title in the men’s discus throw event on the opening day of the Asian Athletics Championships at the Kalinga Stadium on Thursday. Manpreet, who won gold with a throw of 18.28 metres, will now focus on the IAAF World Championships in London next month. She had booked her ticket for the Worlds in April, during the Asian Grand Prix in China, with a throw of 18.86m.The thrower from Punjab said that the gold-winning performance at the Asian meet was a big bonus and a confident boost. “I was confident of winning the title on home soil and was mentally prepared to cross the 18m mark,” said a beaming Manpreet. There was bit of pressure but I settled down as the event progressed.” The overall performance, a big morale booster, will help her at the Worlds. “My performance today will help me mentally gear up to face stiff challenge in the global competition,” she added.Following Manpreet’s gold, Laxmanan emerged triumphant in the men’s 5,000 metres. He had to struggle hard for his gold medal after he was trailing the leading four runners towards the end of the second last lap but produced a stunning sprint finish over the final 300 metres to win by a handsome margin. Asian athletics bosses are looking to revamp competition in the region to ensure top names don’t stay away from the continental championships, Qatar’s Asian Athletics Association president, Gen Dalhan Al Hamad, said on Wednesday.

None of the top Chinese or Japanese athletes are in the fray for the meet starting in the Orissa capital on Thursday, while Mutaz Essa Barshim, world’s best high jumper from Hamad’s own backyard too will skip the event as he prepares for next month’s world championships in London. It downgrades the competition as well as denies the fans the chance to see top athletes in action. We discussed the issue in the Council and it was insisted that all top stars should compete in the continent’s competition. We are looking for a quick solution,’’ the AAA chief told the media.

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