India also bagged a silver in women’s 200m through Asha Roy
press trust of india
Pune, 7 July
India clinched a gold medal in women’s 400m relay in a sensational race to finish sixth overall as the curtains were drawn on the 20th Asian Athletics Championships, with China confirming their supreme status in the continent here today.  By virtue of this victory, the relay team secured a place in the World Championships in Moscow.
India also bagged a silver and bronze in women’s 200m through Asha Roy and Dutee Chand respectively.
The home team came up with a rich haul of eight medals, one gold, two silvers and five bronzes on the fifth and final day to give the houseful Shivchhatrapati Stadium crowd a lot to cheer about. This was a much-improved performance from the last edition in 2011 held in Kobe, Japan where they had finished seventh with one gold, three silvers and eight bronzes.
Vikas Gowda had won India’s other gold in men’s discus throw on the second day on Thursday.
Besides, the gold from relay team comprising M R Poovamma, Tintu Luka, Anu Mariam Jose and Nirmala, India won a silver and a bronze in men’s triple jump through Renjith Maheswary and Arpinder Singh. India also bagged a silver and bronze in women’s 200m through Asha Roy and Dutee Chand respectively.
Luka, Satinder Singh and Jithin C Thomas added a bronze each in women’s 800m, men’s 400m hurdles and men’s high jump respectively. The women’s 4x400m relay team, which was caught in a controversy after India wanted to include dope-tainted Ashwini Akkunji only to be rejected by competition technical delegate, also made it to next month’s World Championships in Moscow as they went past the qualifying time of 3:33.00s.
With the gold in women’s 4x400m relay, India continued its domination in the continent having won a gold each in the 2005 and 2007 editions of the Asian Championships while finishing second in 2009 and 2011. India have also won gold in the last three Asian Games since 2002 in Busan.
Bahrain were a distant third with five gold, seven silver and three bronze while Japan jumped to third with a strong performance today with four gold, six silver and 10 bronze.
Saudi Arabia (4 golds, 2 silvesr, 1 bronze) were fourth while Uzbekistan (3 golds, 4 silvers, 1 bronze) finished fifth.
The Indian supporters went wild when Poovamma, Luka, Mariam Jose and Nirmala won the 4x400m relay, the penultimate event of the day, in 3:32.26.
The Indian quartet won the race in such a convincing fashion that they went past the finishing line with China (3:35.31) behind by around 10 meters at second place. The four young girls ran a victory lap with the tri-colour draped around them to acknowledge the support from the crowd.
Nirmala took a small lead in the first lap but Luka, who had won a bronze just an hour back in 800m, extended the lead. But, by the end of the third lap, Mariam Jose had given India a huge lead before Poovamma, the fastest among the quartet, blasted home to wild cheers of the crowd.