New Delhi,2 October: Olympic steeple chaser Avinash Sable and defending shot put champion Tajinderpal Toor led the charge winning gold each in their respective events as it rained medals in the Indian athletic camp in the Asian Games at Hangzhou China on Sunday.

Avinash with a new Asian Games record, 8:19.53 in the 3000m steeplechase final took top podium place.It was India's first track and field gold at Hangzhou. Meanwhile, Avinash Sable's time is a 29-year-old Indian army man had won the silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

"I'm very, very happy. I was focusing on beating my personal best, but in the last leg I thought I'd better go for the gold. And then I saw that I broke the record. I'm very happy about that." said Avinash Sable

Few minutes later Tejindrpal Toor (2018 Jakarta, 2023 Hangzhou) became the fourth Indian shot putter to defend his Asian Games after Parduman Singh Brar (1954 and 1958), Joginder Singh (1966 and 1970) and Bahadur Singh Chouhan (1978 and 1982).

Toor's started with a throw that landed around the 20m mark, but was deemed a no-throw. His second throw was also ruled out. Toor managed his first legal throw in his third attempt, registering 19.51m, by which time Saudi Arabia’s Mohamed Daouda Tolo was leading the field with a best throw of 19.93m.

He then threw a massive 20.06 in his fourth attempt to get into gold medal position, but Tolo reclaimed the lead, with a 20.18m throw. While the Indian failed in his fifth throw, he saved his best for last. With a  huge  20.36m throw in his sixth attempt. Saudi’s Tolo couldn’t overhaul Toor's and had to settle for silver.

The 28-year-old Toor was the favourite to defend the gold medal he won in 2018. He is the lone Indian Asian record holder in individual events. Toor’s only concern is that he has been injury-prone in the last few years.

He had suffered a groin injury while winning gold at the Asian Championships in July in Bangkok, where his first-round throw of 20.23m was enough to fetch him the top spot. Toor also qualified for the World Championships but had to pull out as he was recovering from a groin injury. Toor had undergone surgery on the left wrist of his throwing arm just after the Tokyo Olympics and said that his ‘wrist is fine.’

“I was preparing to do my best in the World Championships, but this groin injury happened. I was disappointed, but you cannot do anything about injury,” he said.

Sahib Singh, meanwhile, finished eighth with 18.62 meters after his six best attempts. Indians have won men’s shot-put gold nine times in the earlier 18 editions of the Asian Games.

Murali Sreeshankar won silver in the long jump with the best jump of 8.19m but lost to China’s Wang Jianan who topped the charts with a 8.22m jump. Murli's compatriot Aldrin finished eighth with a best jump of 7.76m.

Sreeshankar managed to redeem himself after his disappointing show at the World Championships. His personal and season best of 8.41m puts him in the fourth spot in the world and second among Asians behind compatriot Jeswin Aldrin.
 
Harmilan Bains won silver in the women’s 1500m while Ajay Kumar Saroj and Jinson Johnson took silver and bronze respectively in the men’s 1500m event.
 
Bains finished the race with a timing of 4:12.74s, while Saroj managed 3:38.94 and Johnson registered 3:39.74 in their event.

Jinson who won gold in 2018 gold had to be content with a bronze this time. The national record holder in men’s 800m and 1500m, Jinson won a silver in the shorter distance and a gold in the longer one at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games to mark his stature as one of the best Indian athletes of the generation.

A calf injury and an Achilles tendon rupture in 2019 took the wind out of his sails and then came the pandemic.

The tendon injury also meant Jinson had to give up the 800m, an event in which he broke Sriram Singh’s 42-year-old record in 2018, which was the longest-standing in Indian athletics then.  His national record- mark of 3:35:24 is almost three seconds quicker than the Asian-leading mark of the 2023 season.

In the women's heptathlon, Nandini Agasara won the 800m race with a personal best time of 2:15.33 and won the bronze medal after seven events. She notched personal best scores in the 200m race and javelin throw too. Swapna Barman fell just four points shy of her compatriot to finish fourth.

Seema Punia hurled a season-best 58.62m in the women's discus throw final, winning the bronze medal at Hangzhou 2023. The 40-year-old Seema Punia completed a hat-trick Asian Games medals - gold in 2014, bronze in 2018 and bronze in 2023

In the men's 200m semi-final, Amlan Borgohain clocked 21.03 in the semi-final and made it to the final as a non-automatic qualifier. The 25-year-old sprinter will be in action tomorrow 

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