Jakarta : Hima Das shattered the 400m national record for a second time in two days for a silver while Dutee Chand grabbed the second place in 100m dash on another good day for India’s track and field athletes in the Asian Games here on Sunday.
Muhammed Anas clinched a silver in men’s 400m as well as Indian track and field athletes followed up the gold won by shot putter Tejinderpal Singh Toor on Saturday.
The silver medal each from Hima and Anas was on expected lines as the gold winners in their respective events were outright pre-race favourites. But, Dutee, who had won a ‘gender case’ against the world governing of athletics, was beaten for the gold by two-hundreth of a second as she came up with the best achievement of her career. Her silver was India’s first medal in 20 years in this event after Rachita Mistry won a bronze in 1998 Asiad.
Long distance runner Govindan Lakshmanan crossed the finishing line at third in men’s 10,000m race but was later disqualified under IAAF 163.3b (lane infringement). He was initially shown to have clocked 29:44.91. India did lodge a protest against the decision to disqualify Lakshmanan but the jury of appeals rejected it.
India’s new track sensation, Hima clocked 50.59 seconds to win the silver, behind Bahrain’s Salwa Naser who won the gold in a new Games record time of 50.09 seconds. Hima had qualified for the final with a national record time of 51.00 seconds yesterday, bettering the 14-year-old mark set by Manjeet Kaur (51.05) in Chennai in 2004, and she bettered it again.
Naser, the Nigerian-born 2017 World Championships silver medallist and winner of four legs of Diamond League Series this year, did not have to exert much in the end to clinch the goal. Another Indian in the women’s 400m final, Nirmala Sheoran finished fourth in 52.96. It was India’s first medal in women’s 400m since Manjeet Kaur won a silver at the 2006 Doha edition.
Asian champion Anas settled with a silver in the men’s 400m final as he timed 45.69 seconds, behind Asian season leader and 2017 World Championships bronze medallist Hassan Abdalelah of Qatar. Arokia Rajiv finished fourth by clocking 45.84 which was better than his semifinals (46.08) timing.
Anas said he may pull out of men’s 200m event to prepare for the newly-introduced 400m mixed relay.
Dutee qualified for the women’s 100m final by clocking 11.43 in semi-final and two and a half hours later, she came out to run a memorable race. Dutte clocked 11.32 seconds, a tad below her national record of 11.29 seconds. Odiong Edidiong of Bahrain won the gold in 11.30 while Wei Yongli of China took the bronze in 11.33 in a close finish.
The 22-year-old from Odisha was taking part in her first Asian Games. She was suspended by the IAAF in 2014 under its hyperandrogenism policy but she filed an appealed before the Court of Arbitration for Sports and won it.
Recently, under a revised rule of the IAAF, Dutee was left outside the purview of the hyperandrogenism policy (which bars women athletes having male hormones above permissible limit from competing) which gave her liberty to pursue her career. India’s last medal in this event was the bronze won by Rachita Mistry in 1998 Asiad.
Dutee also emulated Roshan Mistry (1951) and P T Usha (1982 and 1986) in winning a silver each in this event in the Asian Games.
“2014 was very a bad year for me. People said many things abut me. The same girl today came back and won a medal for the country, it is really big achievement for me,” Dutee said after winning a silver medal in the women’s 100m at the Asian Games.
The desperation to achieve something big, to make up for the opportunities lost, was palpable as she spoke about her effort. “In the semifinals, the first 20 metres, I did not push much and coach pointed out that you have to make a better beginning. So in the final I rushed the first 40 metres. I was running with eyes closed, whether medal comes or not, I wanted to better my timing.
“When I opened my eyes, the race was over. I did not know what has happened. People said you have won a medal, but I did not believe, I did not pick flag until I saw the result on display screen.”