Qatar’s high-jumper Barshim wins 4th straight Asian Indoors title

Qatar’s high-jumper Barshim wins 4th straight Asian Indoors title
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Published February 20th, 2016 - 17:46 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim
Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim

No, Mutaz Barshim couldn’t better his Asian Indoor mark of 2.41m. Nor did he overhaul his season’s best of 2.36, set in Malmo, Sweden, last month. But even then, his second-attempt 2.35 proved far too high for the rest of the competition to catch up, as the Qatari high-jumper went on to win an unprecedented fourth straight Asian Indoor gold.

After clearing 2.35, he did attempt to jump 2.40, targeting the world-leading 2.38 mark of rising Italian star Gianmarco Tamberi, but failed and didn’t bother for a fourth try.

In fact, his first-attempt 2.31 was good enough, as the next best jump of 2.28 belonged to Syria’s Majd Eddin Ghazal. The bronze medal went to Sri Lankan Manjula Pathage (2.24)

“I am happy with my jump. I could have done better, but I didn’t want to stretch myself too much. The good thing is this is the start of what is going to be a very important season, and I am feeling good about the way I am progressing. It’s my fourth Indoor title, and the great thing is that it has come here in Qatar, in front of my home fans. I couldn’t have asked for more,” said Barshim.

“Sometimes all you expect from a competition is to win, but there are also days when you aim for the record. Today I just focused on winning the Asian title. It’s true that I waited too long for my first jump today, but I’ve faced it before. In Portland (at next month’s IAAF Indoor Worlds) it won’t be like that. But it’ll be a very tough competition, with all these guys jumping high.

“I won’t compete anywhere else before the Portland Worlds. Although I couldn’t clear 2.40 today, it was still a good competition. It’s essential to stay healthy, because that’s the only way to improve yourself. I’ve faced injuries before and suffered setbacks, so I know how it is,” the Qatari jumper added.

But it was a tragic day for the other two Qatari medal hopefuls, 60m specialists Tosin Ogunode and Samuel Francis. Both of them were disqualified in their semifinal heats for foul starts.

It was good day for India as Mayookha Johny won the long jump gold with a 6.35m leap, finishing well ahead of Vietnam’s Bui Thi Thu Thao (6.30) and Kazakhstan’s Olga Rypakova (6.22).

“It feels great to win in Doha as I’m not used to competing indoors. However, I expected something better than 6.35m. But I’m not complaining at all. An Asian Indoor title is quite an achievement and I am really, really happy,” said Mayookha.

In women’s pole vault, China’s Li Ling cleared 4.70m to better her own Asian Championships (4.50) and Asian Indoor record (4.51). Her compatriot Ren Mengqian finished second with a 4.30m clearance while Japan’s Tomomi Abiko (4.15) took bronze.

“I was ready to jump 4.80, but even 4.70, a new area record, is a very satisfying result. It was my first indoor competition this year. I’m confident I can do better than that. I hope I’ll jump higher in Portland (World Championships) where it matters the most,” Ling said.

“I don’t just want to be known as a tall pole vaulter (she stands at 1.85m), but also the best in the world, and I believe I’ve the potential to reach there,” she added.

The Chinese domination continued in women’s shot-put too, where Geng Shuang threw the disc 18.06m to take the gold, followed by compatriot Guo Tianqian (17.44) to make it a Chinese one-two. Bahrain’s Noora Jassim (16.26) took the bronze medal.

“I didn’t expect to win in Doha because I needed to beat my personal best to make it. But I managed to do it and 18.06 is a huge improvement for me. Now I want to further improve my record,” Geng Shuang said.

It was an Iran one-two in the men’s 60m, with Hassan Hossein Taftian taking the gold medal with an Asian record timing of 6.56. His compatriot Reza Ali Ghasemi took silver (6.66), followed by the Philippines’ Eric Shauwn Brazas Cray (6.70).
Kazakhstan’s Viktoriya Zyabkina won the women’s 60m with a Championship record of 7.27, with China’s Yuan Qi Qi finishing second (7.33), ahead of India’s Dutee Chand (7.37).

Earlier, a morning of expectation turned into an evening of despair for two of Qatar’s biggest medal hopes, 60m sprinters Ogunode and Francis.

The up-and-coming Ogunode had topped the morning heat in an impressive 6.67, while the seasoned Francis, who was chasing his fourth 60m Indoor title following his 2008, 2010 and 2014 successes, had come second in his heat with a rather slow 6.73.

But it all ended even before it could begin when both got disqualified in the evening’s semifinals after foul starts, thereby ending the host nation’s challenge as far as men’s 60m was concerned.
There was a disqualification earlier in the women’s 60m too when India’s Srabani Nanda, coming here fresh from a gold-silver double in 200m and 100m at the just-concluded South Asian Games in India, had a foul start in the first heat to bow out.

The talking point of the morning session though was Bahrain’s Oluwakemi Mujidat Adekoya, who broke both the Asian Indoor and Championship record when she clocked 51.41 to win the women’s 400m heat.
In the process, she broke the 20-year-old Asian mark of 52.27 set by China’s Li Yajun, and the Championship record of 53.28 set by Bahrain’s Rakia Al Gasra in 2008.

“I didn’t know what to expect because this was my first indoor race. To run an area record in the morning heats feels awesome. Inshallah I will run under 51 seconds in the final (at 17:30 today). My main goal this year is the Olympics. I want to do something great in 400m hurdles, for sure better than what I did at the World Championships,” said the Nigerian-born Adekoya, who shifted allegiance to Bahrain in 2014.

The morning session also saw the men’s 400m CR bettered twice--in the first heat by Abubaker Abbas to 47.34 and in heat 5 by Mikhail Litvin to 47.28.

Results
Women’s Shotput: 1. Geng Shuang (China) 18.06; 2. Guo Tianqian (China) 17.44; 2. Noora Jasim (Bahrain) 16.26
Women’s 1500m: 1. Betlhem Desa (UAE) 4:21.65; 2. Tigist Gashaw Belay (Bahrain) 4:22.17; 3. Shugandha Kumari (India) 4:29.06
Women’s Pole Vault: Li Ling (China) 4.70m; 2. Ren Mengqian (China) 4.30m; 3. Tomimi Abiko (Japan) 4.15m
Women’s Long Jump: 1. Mayookha Johny (India) 6.35m; 2. Bui Thi Thu Thao (Vietnam) 6.30m; 3. Olga Rypakova (Kazakhstan) 6.22m
Men’s High Jump: 1. Mutaz Barshim (Qatar) 2.35m; 2. Majd Eddin Ghazal (Syria) 2.28m; 3. Manjula Pathage (Sri Lanka) 2.24m
Men’s 60m: 1. Hassan Hossein Taftian (Iran) 6.56s; 2. Reza Ali Ghasemi (Iran) 6.66s; 3. Eric Shauwn (Philippines) 6.70s
Women’s 60m: 1. Viktoriya Zyabkina (Kazakhstan) 7.27; 2. Yuan Qiqi (China) 7.33; 3. Dutee Chand (India) 7.37

Today’s Finals
Women’s Triple Jump (17:00)
Men’s Pole Vault (17:10)
Men’s 1500m (17:15)
Women’s 400m (17:30)
Men’s 400m (17:45)
Women’s 3000m (18:00)
Men’s Triple Jump (18:30)

By Satya Rath/Doha

© Gulf Times Newspaper 2015

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