Beijing: Indian athletes continued their disappointing performance in the World Championships as country's best hope Vikas Gowda finished a poor ninth in the final round of the men's discus throw event on the penultimate day of competitions here on Saturday.
Gowda, the reigning Asian and Commonwealth champion, had an off day in office as he could come up with a best effort of just 62.24m, well below his season's best of 65.75m and personal as well as national record of 66.28m. He had made it to the final round with a best effort of 63.84m in the qualification round on Thursday.
The 32-year-old United States-based Indian began the final round with a below-par 60.28m and then fouled his second attempt. With a big throw needed in the third round to stay in the competition, Gowda apparently buckled under pressure and came up with a mere 62.24m which was not good enough for him to make it to the top-eight.
After three rounds, the top eight throwers remained in the competition for three more attempts to decide the podium finishers while the four bottom placers are eliminated.
Piotr Malachowski of Poland won the gold medal with a best throw of 67.40m while Philip Milanov (66.90m) of Belgium and Robert Urbanek (65.18m), also of Poland, took the silver and bronze respectively.
This was Gowda's fifth appearance in the World Championships and third to be in the final round. He failed to qualify in the final round in 2005 and 2007 while he had finished seventh in both 2011 and 2013 editions.
Earlier in the day, Indian women's 4x400m relay team and men's 50km race walkers brought up the rear with disappointing performances.
Sandeep Kumar and Manish Singh Rawat finished 26th and 27th respectively out of 38 athletes who completed the men's 50km race walk event with timings of 3:57:03 and 3:57:11 early in the morning. It was though season's best performance for Sandeep while Rawat's effort was his personal best.
Then the Indian women's 4x400m team crashed out at the heat stage. The quartet of Tintu Luka, MR Poovamma, Debasree Majumdar and Jisna Mathew finished last in an eight-team heat number two with a season's best timing of 3:29.08.
United States were placed on top after the qualifying heats with a timing of 3:23.05, followed by Nigeria (3:23.27) and Jamaica (3:23.62).
Indian women's team had never entered the finals of World Championships earlier and the sad story continued here as well.
The only consolation is the Indian team delivered their best ever effort in a World Championships. The previous best was 3:31.55 by a quartet of Vandana Shanbag, Vandana Rao, PT Usha and Shiny Abraham way back in 1987 in Rome.
With Gowda making an exit without any impact, Indians expectedly disappointed in this championships. Lalita Babar made a sort of an impact with a new national record and an eighth-place finish in the women's 3000m steeplechase event but all others fail to rise to the occasion.
Babar, O P Jaisha and Sudha Singh will take part in women's marathon on the last day of competitions tomorrow.