Maheswary leads Indian gold spree in Asian All-Star Athletics

New Delhi: National record holder triple jumper Renjith Maheswary led the Indian gold medal charge as the home athletes faced little challenge from their opponents on the concluding day of the Asian All-Star Athletics Meet which was skipped by top continental athletes.

Maheswary expectedly clinched gold with an impressive performance of 16.74m, shade below his national mark of 17.04m. Kazakhstan`s Yevgenily Ektov (16.69m) and compatriot Roman Valiyev (16.67m) were second and third respectively.

Other top Indians, man shot putter Om Prakash and woman discus thrower Krishna Poonia bagged gold as there was not much competition with most of the top Asian athletes skipping the meet, which offered a total prize money of USD 70,000.

But, national record holder 400m hurdler Joseph Abraham finished second with a 50.87 sec effort, more than a second below his national mark of 49.51 sec. Abraham, who was selected for Arjuna Award today, slowed down at the home stretch after a strong start.

Japanese Koike Takayuki won gold with a timing of 50.08 sec while another Indian Avin Thomas won bronze with 50.89 sec.

India added six gold, four silver and four bronze today to take their total medal tally to 31 in the meet. They had won six gold, five silver and six bronze yesterday. The home country ended the two-day competition on 12 gold, nine silver and 10 bronze.

Shorn of top athletes, the meet did not witness tough competition among the participants with only two personal best efforts -- from Tintu Luka in women`s 800m and Mayookha Johny in women`s long jump, both performances yesterday.

In men`s shot put, Commonwealth Games medal prospect Om Prakash won gold with a throw of 19.74m though below his best of 20.02m. Compatriot Saurabh Vij won silver with 19.09m while Iran`s Amin Abrahim Paul (18.65m) was third.

Poonia, who won Arjuna Award today, expectedly won the women`s discus throw event with an effort of 60.93m while compatriots Harwant Kaur (58.73m) and national record holder Seema Antil (54.21) were second and third respectively.


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