Anas, Nirmala star; India win four gold on Day Two

BHUBANESWAR: It was a brilliant day for Indian quarter milers at the Asian Athletics Championships on Friday with national champions Mohammad Anas and Nirmala winning gold in the men’s and women’s 400 metre events at Kalinga Stadium here.

Middle distance runners added to India’s gold medal tally on Day 2. While Chitra PU won the women’s 1500m race, Ajay Kumar finished first in the men’s race, qualifying for the World Championships in August. Anas and Nirmala had qualified for the Worlds earlier.

The final races on Friday were held under a light drizzle after a long delay due to rain.

The delay did affect the athletes but the Indians seemed to be at home in the wet conditions. “The weather did spoil the rhythm as the race was delayed,” said Nirmala after the race in which teenager Jisna Mathew won bronze. “But once I settled on the blocks I was focused.” Nirmala added she was confident of a podium finish in the race but wasn’t sure about the colour.

Men’s 400 metre champion Anas felt the victory was a good preparation for the Worlds. “The competition here is one step forward for the global meet,’’ he said. Anas’ training partner Rajiv Arokia won silver, while Amoj Jacob finished fourth.

BRONZE FOR DUTEE

India Tajinder Pal Singh won silver in men’s shot put with a throw of 19.41m, while Dutee Chand got bronze in the women’s 100m. She clocked 11.52 secs.

India won four gold, two silver and two bronze medals on Day 2.

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