Asian Athletics Championship 2019 : Analyzing India’s performance
The 23rd Asian Athletics Championship concluded a few days ago. The Indian contingent bowed out with 17 medals, which might seem to be a satisfactory haul but is it really so?
There are two ways to look at that question. Firstly, one should definitely applaud the victorious athletes as they along with the Bahrain team actually lit up the tournament. However, if you delve deeper into it, then this medal haul was actually a dozen less than what the Indian team had attained last time around. They finished fourth on the table in this four-day-long event held in the Khalifa International Stadium.
Dutee Chand bagged a bronze medal in the 200m sprint, having broken two national records in the first two days of this competition itself. She clocked the sprint at 23.24 seconds, remarkable indeed, but this wouldn’t grant her an entry in the World Championships later this year.
In the 4x400m relay sprint, the Indian women’s team finished second. The four-member team consisting of Prachi, MR Poovamma, Saritaben Gayakwad, and VK Vismaya overcame some stumbles in their race by a strong finish from Vismaya eventually. They concluded their race in 3:32:21 seconds, just 11 milliseconds apart from their Bahrain counterparts.
PU Chitra defended her gold medal-winning effort from the last edition in the 1500m sprint as she steered past her close opponents quite comfortably to register a victory in 4:14:56 seconds. She ensured that the Indian team finished this tournament on a high.
India’s two biggest bets in the Discus Throw event, Kamalpreet Kaur and Navjeet Dhillon had started the proceedings in the fourth day. However, both of them finished fourth and fifth respectively, missing the medal by a very fine margin.
Similarly, in the 5000m event, Murli Kumar Tulsyabai Gavit finished fifth in the standing at the end. Abhishek Pal came out sixth in the race, and hence here, the Indian squad again failed to notch a medal or two by a very small distance.
Similar to the female relay event, the male Indian team of four members had nearly won a silver medal too. Comprising of Kunhu Mohammed, KS Jeevan, Muhammad Anas, and Arokia Rajiv, the squad was stripped off their medal under the law 163.2, which means that they impeded an athlete during the process. The team challenged this decision but to no avail.
Hence, India’s tally of 17 medals at the Asian Athletics Championship 2019, that includes 3 gold medals and 7 silver and bronze medals each should not be looked down upon. Obviously, there was room for the athletes to do better, but some of them were quite unlucky to miss the podium finish by fine margins that could have happened to anyone else on any other day.