Kobe (Japan): Rattled by dope scandals, Indian athletics finally has something to cheer about after discus thrower Vikas Gowda won a silver medal despite a below-par on the opening day of the 19th Asian Championships on Thursday.
National record holder Gowda finished second with an effort of 61.58m, much below his season`s best of 64.91, behind Iranian Asian record holder Ehsan Hadadi who also had a below par 62.27m. The bronze medal went to Wu Jian of China (56.61m).
This was the Iranian`s fourth consecutive Asian title though he was well below his season`s best of 65.89m and Asian record of 69.32m.
Gowda, who has had a good season with three marks over 64 metres, started poorly with a 58.88 effort though he could clear 60m mark with a 60.99 in his third attempt.
His fourth attempt was also below 60m mark before he hurled the disc to the silver-winning 61.58m.
By that time, Hadadi had already cleared 62.27m in his fourth attempt. Gowda made his last effort to go past the Iranian leader but could only clear 58.37 in his final attempt.
Gowda could not go near the 2012 London Olympics and next month`s World Championships `B` qualifying standard of 63m not to speak of `A` standard of 65m.
A 35-member Indian team was participating in the continent`s top competition in the backdrop of a dope scandal after eight athletes returned positive for anabolic steroids.
Double Asian gold medallist Ashwini Akkunji and her Commonwealth and Asian 4x400m relay gold-medal winning team-mates Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose were among the eight.
Ashwini and another quarter-miler Priyanka Panwar were caught for doping hours before they were to leave for the Asian Championships.