Kazakhstan reign supreme as Ashgabat bids farewell to Athletics

ASHGABAT, September 21, 2017 – Special Report at AIMAG, Turkmenistan.

With Asian regional champions, contenders and debutants all eyeing medals at the Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, the final day saw a fierce battle for the last nine medals.

Here’s a recap of the top performers.

Kazakhstan

Leading the way with a total of six gold medals on a dramatic finale, Kazakhstan, the largest Central Asian nation in the world, capped off a successful three-day event with wins in the men’s shot put and pole vault, as well as the women’s 60m and 400m categories.

Olga Rypakova was the star athlete as she bagged two gold medals in the women’s long jump and triple jump, making her the 12th multi-medalist at the games.

The women’s 4x400m relay team could have made it a perfect seven but were stripped off their win before making it to the podium after being disqualified. The gold eventually went to Thailand.

Their overall medal haul of 10 also includes one silver and three bronze medals.

 

India

Ajay Kumar Saroj ensured India was firmly placed in the headlines after completing a double of both the Asian outdoor and indoor gold medal in the 1500m category.

Ajay, 20, alongside 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Arpinder Singh in the men’s triple jump event, ensured India come away as the joint biggest winners from the final day with two gold medals, eventually finishing  second with a total of eight medals including five gold, two silver and one bronze.

 

 

Saudi Arabia

Mohammed Jassem Alqaree clinched the country’s  second gold in athletics by emerging champion of the men’s heptathlon while two-time Asian 1500m champion Mohammed Othman Shaween saw his gold medal slip to silver as he was beaten to the line by Ajay Kumar of India.

This ensured the West Asian nation completed the top three with a medal count of five; two gold and three silver medals.

 

Qatar

The Qatari contingent were made to rue ending up with a solitary gold medal on the final day after coming second in the 4x400m, letting a huge lead slip to Pakistan midway through the third lap.

Interestingly, this third leg was run by Haraine Jamal, the 2017 Asian Athletics Championship silver medalist, who had earlier won the 800m gold in dramatic fashion.

The 24-year-old mounted a late push in the last 30m of the race from third position, thus snatching the win from Sri Lanka’s Indunil Herath Ekanayaka just at the line.

The West Asian country finished fourth with four medals including the second gold from Abdalelay Haroun Hassan, the Sudan-born Qatari athlete who on Tuesday, September 19, set a new games record of 45.68s in the 400m.

 

Turkmenistan

Fielding a list of 35 athletes across various track and field events, the host nation finished bottom of the athletics standing, in 19th place with a solitary bronze medal from the women’s 4x400m relay.

This was by virtue of disqualification of the initial winners Kazakhstan, as well as fifth-placed Jordan.

Other final day results include a gold medal win by Pakistan’s men 4x400m team and Thailand’s women 4x400m quartet.

2017 Asian Championship silver medalist Gayanthika Artigal took home the gold which in turn tied Sri Lanka in second place with India as the day’s biggest winners, with the 800m gold medal, while China’s 2014 Asian Indoor Championships bronze medalist Bian Ka remained unmatchable in shot put gold.

Five new records were set at the games with Syria’s Majd Eddin Ghazal saving the best for last on the final day.

The 2009 Asian Indoor and Rio 2016 Rio Olympic Games finalist cleared a height of 2.26m, 0.2m better than Qatar’s Rashid Al-Mannai at the 2007 Asian Indoor Games in Macau, China.

Kazakhstan’s duo of Ivan Ivanov and Sergey Grigoryev broke the records for men’s shot put(19.60m) and pole vault (5.40m) respectively, while Ahmed Khader Almuwallad got the indoor fans on the opening day on their feet with a new games record (7.66s) in men’s 60m hurdle.

The comprehensive athletics medal table can be found on the official Ashgabat Games website.

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