Friday, November 26, 2010

Asian Games: Bahrain win double gold in athletics

GUANGZHOU, China: Bahrain's imported talent notched up two prestigious long-distance titles at the Asian Games on Friday, but there were no doubles for Ali Hasan Mahboob or India's Preeja Sreedharan.

Mahboob, previously known as Kenyan Silas Kirui before changing allegiance to Bahrain, had wrapped up the 5,000m title in the week and came into the 10,000m as defending champion and favourite.

But the pace set by Qatar's Kenyan-born Essa Rashed cut him out of contention, little-known Ethiopian-born teammate Bilisuma Gelassa just getting past the Qatari for gold in a last-gasp sprint for the line.

Mahboob clung on to claim bronze and ensure a podium, like that of the men's 5,000m, made up of three African-born runners.

"I'm not satisfied with my performance today because I should have got the gold medal," said Rashed, blaming his faltering pace at the end on stomach pains.

"I tried to push myself but I didn't manage to make it so I fell behind."

In the women's 5,000m, there was similar heartbreak for Sreedharan, the newly-crowned Asiad 10,000m champion, who mistimed her sprint finish by a matter of two metres and had to be happy with silver behind Bahrain's Mimi Gebregeiorges.

As the Ethiopian-born Gebregeiorges neared the line, it was obvious she didn't have much more to give, but Sreedharan had gifted her too much coming around the bend from 250 metres.

China's defending champion and current Asian champ Xue Fei could only finish in seventh position, almost 29sec off the pace.

"I got the bronze in the 1,500m and gold in the 5,000m, so it's very good. I feel very happy," said Gerbregeiorges, who like Gelassa only acquired Bahraini nationality in 2009.

"I looked behind and I saw that she was coming fast and I killed myself to reach the line," the 22-year-old said of Sreedharan's late push for the finish line.

Preeja was left kicking herself: "If I'd followed the Bahraini immediately when she stepped up the pace I could have caught her."

The relays saw Yao Li become the first Chinese male athlete to win two gold medals in athletics in one Asiad when he raced home for the host country's first 4x100m relay victory since the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing.

The relay gold, coupled with Li Yanxi's successful defence of his triple jump gold crown, with a season's best of 16.94m on his penultimate leap, means China top the athletics medals table with 12 golds, 14 silvers and eight bronzes, with just the men and women's marathons to be run on Saturday.

Indian Ashwini Akkunji also claimed a second gold running the third leg of India's victorious women's 4x400m relay team to add to her individual 400m hurdles title.

But there was no third gold for Japan's sprint queen Chisato Fukushima, who was left too much to do down the final stretch of the women's 4x100m relay, won by Thailand, with China getting silver.

Saudi Arabia won the men's 4x400m relay.

In the field, there was a welcome 1-2 for Uzbekistan in the women's high jump, Svetlana Radzivil pipping teammate Nadiya Dusanova by 2cm with her best of 1.95m.

Japan's Yukifumi Murakami won the men's javelin with a personal best of 83.15m after two silvers in previous Asiads.

The men's shot put crown was easily wrapped up by Saudi Arabia's Asian record holder Sultan al-Habashi, his sixth and final effort measuring 20.57m.
Men's 10,000m final:
1. Bilisuma Shugi Gelassa (BRN) 27 minutes 32.72 seconds
2. Essa Rashed (QAT) 27:33.09
3. Ali Hasan Mahboob (BRN) 27:40.07
Men's Triple jump final:
1. Li Yanxi (CHN) 16.94 metres
2. Yevgeniy Ektov (KAZ) 16.86
3. Cao Shuo (CHN) 16.84
Men's Javelin final:
1. Yukifumi Murakami (JPN) 83.15 metres
2. Park Jaemyong (KOR) 79.92
3. Rinat Tarzumanov (UZB) 79.65
Men's Shot Put final:
1. Sultan al-Habashi (KSA) 20.57 metres
2. Zhang Jun (CHN) 19.59
3. Chang Ming Huang (TPE) 19.48
Men's 4x100m relay final:
1. China 38.78 seconds
2. Taiwan 39.05
3. Thailand 39.09
Men's 4x400m relay final:
1. Saudi Arabia 3 minutes 02.30 seconds
2. Japan 3:02.43
3. China 3:03.66
Women's 5,000m final:
1. Mimi Gebregeiorges (BRN) 15 minutes 15.59 seconds
2. Preeja Sreedharan (IND) 15:15.89
3. Kavita Raut (IND) 15:16.54
Women's High jump final:
1. Svetlana Radzivil (UZB) 1.95 metres
2. Nadiya Dusanova (UZB) 1.93
3. Anna Ustinova (KAZ) 1.90
3. Zheng Xingjuan (CHN) 1.90
Women's 4x100m relay final:
1. Thailand 44.09 seconds
2. China 44.22
3. Japan 44.41
Women's 4x400m relay final:
1. India 3 minutes 29.02 seconds
2. Kazakhstan 3:30.03
3. China 3:30.89

- AFP/ir/de

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