Win Tickles Pinky
Gold for Indian star;Watchara notches a silver
Watchara Sorndee, left, with winner Yongyi Wen in the menís 100m.
SEA Games 100m gold medallist Watchara Sorndee clinched a silver for Thailand in what turned out to be a disappointing day for the hosts in the rain-interrupted Asian Grand Prix first leg at the Supachalasai National Stadium yesterday.
Fresh from winning the gold medal with a personal best of 10.38 seconds at the China National Track and Field Asian Grand Prix Series in Guangzhou, Watchara got off to a poor start.
Despite that he managed to outrun team-mate Ekkachai Chanthana and India's Anil Kumar. In the last 30m, Watchara made a valiant but vain attempt to catch up with pace-setter Wen Yongyi.
The Chinese stormed home first in 10.30 with the speedy Thai just 0.10 sec behind. Compatriot Seksan Wongsala put in a great run to take the bronze, clocking 10.43secs. For the victory, Wen pocketed US$1,500 (around Bt57,000), while Watchara took home US$800 (around Bt34,000).
"The Chinese flew past everyone in the first 30m. He will be a strong threat in the Asian Games in Doha," Watchara said.
Uzbekistan's Guzel Khubbieva was undoubtedly the star of the show as she put former World Championship silver medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe in the shade in the women's 200m. Khubbieva was timed at 23.29 sec, while the Sri Lankan sprinter came second just 0.16 sec behind. China's Zhu Juanhong finished third.
Jayasinghe is slowly getting back on track after being out of competition for almost two years. "I participated in a meet in the United States a few months ago. I won both the 100m and 200m events there. I have been training in Los Angeles for two months," said Jayasinghe, who captured the women's 100m in the Asian Games in Busan, South Korea, four years ago.
"I felt pain in my hamstrings. It's not serious. Just a small stress. I thought it was better to slow down than try catching Khubbieva. My time is not that bad," said Jayasinghe, whose personal best is 22.28 sec in the Sydney Olympics.
"I want to make a successful comeback in the South Asian Games in Colombo in August and also in the Asian Games in December," she added.
In the women's 100m hurdles, Chinese Feng Yun, who set the Asian record of 12.97 seconds in Fukuoka, Japan, eight years ago, proved once again that she is still the best on the continent. The Busan Asian Games gold medallist clocked the fastest time of 13.25 secs, with Kazakh Natalya Ivoninskaya and Indonesian Dedeh Erawati finishing second and third.
The women's 800m turned out to be a thriller. India's Pinky Pramanik surged ahead of the leading pack of four strong runners, including Uzbekistan's Amirova Zamira in the homestretch, to cross the finish line first in 2:07.08. She also claimed a silver in the 400m, clocking 53.86 sec.
Kazakhstan's Olga Tereshkova, who finished a poor fifth in Busan, captured the women's 400m crown in 53.53 sec, while the men's 400m title went to Sri Lankan Rohan Pradeep Kumara Femando in 45.81 sec.
In the women's high jump, Kazakhstan's Marina Aitova cleared 1.94m for the gold. Busan Asiad gold medallist Tatiana Efimenko bettered her personal best of 1.91m by jumping 1.94m. However, she had to contend with a silver as Aitova was the first to clear the 1.94m height.
Thailand's dreams of winning the men's 3,000m title through SEA Games double gold medallist Boonthung Srisang were dashed as the diminutive Thai finished a disappointing fourth place in 8:27.52.
China's Chen Mingfu emerged first in 8:25.14, while Sunil Kumar and Pritam Bind gave India a two-three finish.
Chinese athletes dominated the one-day event, capturing the lion's share of 12 medals including six gold.
The Chinese claimed gold in the men's shot put through Zhang Qi (19m), Song Aimin (56.99m) in the women's discus and Meng Yan (49.86 sec) in the men's 400m hurdles.
India was second overall with a haul of three gold, five silver and four bronze medals, Kazakhstan third with nine medals including three gold and three silver. Sri Lanka finished fourth with one gold and two silver, while home athletes came a distant ninth with four medals including one silver from Watchara in the men's 100m.
The three bronzes came from Thitima Muangchan (women's long jump), Siwaporn Warapeang (women's discus) and Seksan Wongsala (men's 100m).
The athletes from 16 countries, including eight Thais, will move to India for the second and third legs in Bangalore on May 22 and Pune on May 26.
Meanwhile, Juthaporn Krasaeyan has decided to withdraw from the two legs to take care her husband and former national shot putter Jittrakorn, who underwent an operation recently.