Harminder gives India 2nd athletics medal, others disappoint

Harminder gives India 2nd athletics medal, others disappoint
New Delhi Harminder Singh on Saturday became the first Indian to win a medal in a walk race in Commonwealth Games history a day after Kavita Raut won the first-ever women's track medal, but their compatriots disappointed in other athletics events.

The 26-yer-old Punjabi walker from Patiala won a surprise bronze in the men's 20km road event to give the country their second athletics medal in these Games, while also clocking his personal best of 1 hour, 23 minutes and 27 seconds.

Australians Jared Talent (1:22.18) and Luke Adams (1:22.31) won the gold and silver respectively.

Talent had won a bronze in 2008 Beijing Olympics while Adams was a silver medallist in 2006 the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Harminder was narrowly off Babu Bhai Panucha's national mark of 1:23.06. Panucha, incidentally, did not finished the walk race while another Indian Baljinder Singh was ninth in 1:29.18.

With Harminder's medal, India have won two bronze from athletics with Kavita Raut having finished third in the women's 10,000m race on Friday.

Harminder was only the fifth man to win an athletics medal in Games history after Milkha Singh (gold in men's 440yard race in 1958), Praveen Kumar (silver in men's hammer throw in 1966), Mohinder Singh Gill (bronze in men's triple jump in 1970; silver in men's triple jump in 1974) and Suresh Babu (bronze in men's long jump in 1978).

In women's 20km race walk, however, Rani Yadav finished sixth in 1:42.54 while K J Sandhya was eighth in 1:51.44. L Deepmala Devi did not finish the race.

England's Jo Jackson won gold in 1:34.22 in Games record time of 1:34.22 to win her country's first yellow metal in this event in CWG. Claire Tallent of Australia won the silver in 1:36.55 while Kenyan Grace Njue bagged the bronze in 1:37.49.

In the evening, other Indians could not emulate Harminder's feat on the fourth day of the track and field events even though the showpiece venue Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was thronged by nearly 40,000 spectators, the biggest so far.

In women's shot put final, Manpreet Kaur and Patwant Kaur finished a distant ninth and 11th in the 12-athlete field. Manpreet threw 14.50m while Patwant cleared 12.63m.

Valerie Adams of New Zealand won gold in Games record distance of 20.47m which erased compatriot Valerie Vili's 19.66m effort in 2006 Melbourne Games.

Cleopatra Brown (19.03m) of Trinidad and Tobago and Tasele Satupai (16,63m) of Samoa won silver and bronze respectively.

Another Games record was created when South African Sunette Viljoen won the women's javelin throw by throwing the spear to the 62.34m mark, bettering her own record of 60.72m which he set in Melbourne four years ago.

Australia's Kim Mickle (60.90m) won the silver while another South African Justin Robbeson bagged the bronze with an effort of 60.03m.

India's Saraswathi Sundaram and Suman Devi finished a lowly eighth and ninth respectively despite setting their season's best of 51.51m and 51.19m.

The best Indian performance in this session came from Sudha Singh who finished fifth in women's 3,000m steeplechase by setting a new national record of 9:57.63. She erased the earlier mark of 10:03.05 standing in the name of Jaisha.

Jaisha flopped along with Priyanka Patel by bringing up the rear to finish eighth and ninth in a slow 10:20.83 and 10:26.48 respectively.

Kenya swept the race with their 2009 World Championships bronze medallist and season's world leader Milcah Cheywa winning gold in 9:40.96.

Mercy Njoroge and Gladys Kipkemoi bagged silver and bronze respectively in 9:41.54 and 9:52.51.

In men's discus throw, national record holder Vikas Gowda finished second by clearing 60.83m to qualify for the finals while Anil Kumar fell by the wayside after ending at 13th with a disappointing 47.68m effort.

Season's leader among Commonwealth discus throwers, Australian Benn Harradine, who finished second in IAAF/VTB Continental Cup in Croatia last month, emerged winner in the qualification round with an effort of 61.98m.

In women's 200m, Satti Geetha ran her season's best of 23.99secs to finish third in a round one heat and qualify for the second round.

In men's 200m, India's Dharambir ran his personal best of 21.20secs but still failed to qualify for the semifinals after finishing sixth in one of the round two heats. The other Indian in the fray, Mohd Abdul Qureshi was disqualified for false start in a round one heat.

In women's long jump, all the three Indians -- Maliakkal Prajusha, Mayookha Johny and Resmi Bose -- qualified for the finals with efforts of 6.31m, 6.27m and 6.12m respectively.

In men's 400m hurdles, both the Indians in fray -- national record holder Joseph Abraham and Kuldev Singh -- failed to qualify with both finishing fourth in their respective heats. Abraham clocked 50.55secs, below his season's best of 50.24secs and national mark of 49.52secs.

Both their women counterparts also could not qualify for the finals after finishing fifth in their respective heats. Jauna Murmu clocked 59.86secs while Ashwini Akkunji timed 59.49 secs.

Indians also failed to qualify for the final round in the men's 800m with Manjit ending seventh in one of the semifinal heats in 1:50.88 while Francis Sagayaraj did not finished the race.

It is the same story in men's long jump and high jump with the Indians bringing up the rear. National record holder Hari Shankar Roy was 11th in men's high jump with a 2.15 effort while Nikhil Chittarasu was 13th.

In men's long jump, Ankit Sharma and Mahan Singh were eighth and ninth after clearing 7.56m and 7.47m respectively.

The men's 400m was won by Kenya's Mark Kiprotich Muttai in 45.44secs followed by Australian Sean Wore in 45.46secs.

Ramon Miller of Bahamas won the bronze in 45.55 secs in a depleted field skipped by several top Commonwealth athletes. Women's heptathlon saw England running away with gold and bronze.

Louise Hazel of England won the gold by collecting 6156 points ahead of Jessica Zelinka of Canada who got a total of 6100 points. Another Englishwoman Grace Clements won bronze with 5819 points.

India's Pramila Guddanda, Sushmita Singha Roy and Navpreet Kaur came up with disappointing performance to finish fifth, six and seventh respectively.
Story First Published: October 09, 2010 09:30 IST

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