Asian Athletics Championships: Gold for Toor, Parul

Tajinderpal Singh Toor
Tajinderpal Singh Toor suffered an injury while defending the shot put title. File photo: AFP/Kirill Kudryavtsev

Bangkok: India's shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor stamped his authority in the continental circuit by defending his Asian Athletics Championships title but limped out of the competition after his gold-winning second round throw here on Friday.

The Asian record holder Toor sent the iron ball to a distance of 20.23m in his second round throw but did not take further part as he limped out after the effort, holding his groin.

Saberi Mehdi (19.98m) of Iran and Ivan Ivanov (19.87m) of Kazakhstan took the silver and bronze respectively.

Parul Chaudhary then won her maiden 3000m steeplechase title in a major international event to swell India's gold tally to five.

Young long jumper Shaili Singh also clinched her maiden medal -- a silver -- in her first major international event on yet another productive day for India.

India has so far won nine medals -- five gold, one silver and three bronze.

After a bronze on Wednesday, India added three gold and two bronze medals on Thursday.

All the gold winners in the Asian Championships have a high chance of qualifying for the World Championships (August 19-27) in Budapest, Hungary.

Under the World Championships qualifying criteria, continental champions qualify for the showpiece on the condition that there is no better entry (by world rankings) of another athlete from the same area in the same event.

Toor was the outright favourite to win the shot put gold. He began with a 19.80m effort before his gold-winning 20.23m throw.

The 28-year-old Toor became only the third shot putter to defend the Asian Championships title.

Qatari Bilal Saad Mubarak had achieved the feat twice by winning consecutive titles in 1995 and 1998, and again in 2002 and 2003. Mohd Gharib Al Zinkawi of Kuwait had won the title thrice in a row -- 1979, 1981 and 1983.

The extent of Toor's injury is not yet known but it could be a cause of concern for him as the World Championships begin in just over a month.

"Yes, I was feeling pain, so I discontinued," Toor, who competed with a bandaged left wrist, told PTI.

He had qualified for the World Championships with his new Asian record throw of 21.77m in the National Inter-State Championships in Bhubaneswar last month.

Toor had also missed the 2022 World Championships due to a groin strain he developed just before the event, which also forced him to skip the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Toor had undergone surgery on the left wrist of his throwing arm just after the Tokyo Olympics.

The 28-year-old Parul, who trained in the United States earlier this year, broke off from the leading pack towards the end and won comfortably with a time of 9 minutes and 38.76 seconds. Her timing was well outside her personal best of 9:29.51s which she had clocked in May in the US.

Shuangshuang Xu (9:44.54s) of China and Yoshimura Reimi (9:48.48s) of Japan took the silver and bronze respectively.

The women's 3000m steeplechase, which was introduced in 2007, is an event dominated by India. Sudha Singh (2013 and 2017) and Lalita Babar (2015) had earlier won gold for the country.

Parul had finished fourth and fifth in 2017 and 2019.

Parul won a bronze in 5,000m in the 2019 Asian Championships. She holds the national record in that event.

For the 19-year-old Shaili, a protege of legendary long jumper Anju Bobby George, it was her first major international event at the senior level and she celebrated it with a silver.

She had won a silver in the World Junior Championships in 2021.

Shaili, the Asian leader before Friday with a 6.76m jump earlier this year, was ahead of the pack till midway of the competition with her first round effort of 6.54m.

But eventual gold winner Sumire Hata of Japan took the lead with her fourth round effort of 6.74m, which she improved to 6.97m in her sixth and final leap.

China's Zhong Jiawei took the bronze with a fifth round jump of 6.46m. Another Indian in the fray, Keralite Ancy Sojan, who had beaten Shaili for gold in the National Inter-State Championships last month, finished fourth with a jump of 6.41m.

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