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Friday, August 31, 2018

Hima Das, Poovamma, Poovamma, Sarita Gayakwad and VK Vismaya - bring Gold at Asian Games 2018

She shot to prominence recently at  IAAF World U20 Championships - India's Hima Das made history by becoming the country's first track athlete to become a world champion at any level after winning the women's 400m at the U-20 World Championships in Tampere, Finland. Hima is also only the second ever Indian athlete to claim a gold medal at the World Juniors, following javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra's victory at the 2016 edition of the championships. With a power-packed finish, India’s Hima Das sealed her nation’s first ever medal in the 400m at the IAAF World U20 Championships, sling-shotting to the lead down the home straight and coming home a clear winner in 51.46.

Today at  Ageas Bowl, Southampton, a minute ago, Indians were all out for 273  – India struggled against Mooen Ali who had a 5 wicket haul – Pujara remained unbeaten at 132;  Ishant and Bumrah had  good partnerships with Pujara.  Rishab Pant, a known aggressor, played a rather uncharacteristic innings, remained without scoring and got out after 29 balls. Yesterday Kumara Dharmasena, ruled batsman notout to Ashwin delivery – India went on appeal – legitimate delivery, ball was in line and went on to clip the wickets – but as the decision was not out and since there was doubt on whether the ball straightened enough, Dharmasena was given the luxury of retaining his decision and he promptly declared batsman not out .. .. if the system cannot throw a result on whether ball straightened, how did it show that ball would for sure clipped the wickets.  Today it was more eerie.  Ajinkya Rahane was given out lbw and went on appeal. Ben Stokes appeared to have overstepped as no part of his foot was beyond the crease – yet Bruce Oxenford struck to his decision after review ruling Rahane out and triggering a collapse !

The Port of Southampton is a major passenger and cargo port located in the central part of the south coast of England. It benefits from a sheltered location, unique "double tides", close proximity to the motorway network and good rail links. It is the  busiest cruise terminal and second largest container port in the UK. The port is located ten miles (16 km) between the confluence of the rivers Test and Itchen and the head of the mile wide inlet  known as Southampton Water. It has a long history - It is stated citing archaeological findings that the area has been inhabited since the stone age.   During the Middle Ages, shipbuilding became an important industry for the town. Henry V's famous warship HMS Grace Dieu was built in Southampton. The port had been used for military embarkation, including during 18th-century wars with the French.  In 1912, the ill-fated  RMS Titanic sailed from Southampton.  The Supermarine Spitfire was designed and developed in Southampton.  Heavy bombing of the factory in September 1940 destroyed it as well as homes in the vicinity, killing civilians and workers. World War II hit Southampton particularly hard because of its strategic importance as a major commercial port and industrial area.

Now at Asian Games,  Hima's outstanding sprint in the final stretch of her part along with the efforts of teammates Machettira Poovamma, Saritaben Laxmanbhai Gayakwad and Velluva Koroth Vismaya helped India retain their title. India now have 58 medals at Asian Games 2018 and 12 gold medals.

Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium   is a multi-purpose stadium located  in Central Jakarta, Indonesia. The stadium is named after Sukarno, Indonesia's first President. It is mostly used for football matches. When first opened in 1962, the stadium had a seating capacity of 110,000. It has been reduced twice.   The athletics competitions of  2018 Asian Games was held at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta, 

Perhaps, everything played out as per script for the Indian women in the 4x400m relay on the final day of the athletics programme at the 2018 Asian Games. Hima Das, the fastest quarter-miler in the country, gave the lead on the first lap with a searing run, setting a heady tone for the whole race, which the rest did well to consolidate, leaving their opponets in a helpless wake. Clocking an impressive 3:28.72s, they ensured India won its fifth 4×400 relay gold medal at the Asian Games on the trot.

For Hima, who celebrated wildly, it was her first gold medal at the Games after enduring heartbreaks in 400m and 4x400m mixed relay. On both instances she had to settle for silver. Seasoned runner MR Poovamma, the only member from the previous winning squad that set a games record with an effort of 3.28.68, took the baton from the Assam girl and ensured India didn’t lose the advantage. From there on, victory seemed certain and the only question was about the margin.

Bahrain (3:30.61s) finished almost two seconds behind India while Vietnam could manage 3:33.23s for the bronze. The Indian women missed the Games record of 3:28.68s by a very narrow margin.  What makes the gold even more glittering is that they are a young group. Poovamma, at 28, is the oldest. Sarita Gayakwad is 24, Hima 18 and VK Vismaya 21. Both Povamma and Hima, who undoubtedly is among the most promising young athletes in the continent, had on Wednesday claimed silver in the 4x400m mixed relay as well.

Their collective effort kept a proud Indian legacy intact in the Asian Games—they have topped the particular stream in every edition of the event since 2002 edition in Busan, where a talented group of Jincy Phillip, Manjeet Kaur, Soma Biswas and KM Beenamol ran terrifically.

Well done Indian athletes

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
31st Aug 2018 @ 22:30 hrs.

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