Gowda settles for silver

Incheon :  Vikas Gowda settled for a silver in men’s discus throw as he failed to mount any serious challenge to his old nemesis Ehsan Hadadi of Iran while Tintu Luka qualified for the women’s 800m race final on the fourth day of athletics competitions in the Asian Games here on Tuesday.

Gowda, who recently won the gold in Glasgow Commonwealth Games, came up with a below-par best effort of 62.58m which he did in his second attempt to fetch the silver at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium here. The Indian has a season’s best of 65.62m while his personal best also the national record is 66.28m.

Hadadi, who was struggling for form this season despite being a pre-Games favourite, outperformed Gowda with a best throw of 65.11m to clinch the gold and run away with a hat-trick of titles. He has also won gold in 2006 and 2010 Asian Games. Gowda had finished third in 2006 Doha Games.

The Iranian Asian record holder with 69.32m, one of the top discus throwers in the world, threw the disc better than Gowda’s 62.58m four times today as he also had 64.89, 63.77 and 64.47 in his fourth to sixth attempts.

Gowda, who had won gold in Glasgow with 63.64m, had three foul throws in his last three attempts as he failed to mount any challenge to his Iranian rival and had to settle for the silver which is the ninth medal from Indian track and field athletes in four days.

It was a case of Gowda hitting Hadadi hurdle once again as he has done better than the Iranian only once in 17 clashes he had in his career, including today’s final. The lone instance when Gowda did better than Hadadi was in the Doha leg of the prestigious IAAF Diamond League Meeting in May when the Indian was second while the Iranian was seventh. In the only other final involving an Indian, national record holder Siddhanth Thingalaya finished sixth in men’s 110m hurdles in 13.73secs. The Indian could not touch his season’s best of 13.65secs, which he did in August at Patiala.

Half milers medal prospect Tintu Luka and Sushma Devi qualified for the women’s 800m finals. Luka, the Asian leader with 2:00.56, won heat number one in 2:04.28 while Sushma was third in heat number two in 2:03.54.

Defending champion in women’s 400m hurdles, Ashwini Akkunji qualified for the final after finishing second in the heats in 57.67secs. Ashwini has a season’s best of 57.43secs while his personal best is 56.15. In men’s 800m, Sajeesh Joseph qualified for the final round after finishing third in his heat in 1:49.90. However, Joseph Abraham, failed to qualify for the men’s 400m hurdles final after finishing third in heat number 1 in 51.04 though he was the first to set out of the block.

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