Monday 20 November 2017
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17th Asian Games – HORIZONTAL JUMPS – An Indian among the top contenders

Triple jumper Arpinder Singh is doing the rounds ever since he bettered the Indian record with an excellent leap of 17.17m – a mark that put him on top in both Commonwealth and Asian lists this year. Although he was nowhere near to that distance after a cruel summer day at Lucknow in June, Singh garnered a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow earlier this year. Last year’s Asian champion Cao Shuo (17.35 in 2012) and his Chinese teammate Dong Bin (17.38 in 2012) looking formidable against the Indian. Also in the fray are four other jumpers with 17+ marks to their credit that includes two from Kazakhstan – Roman Valiyev (17.20) and Yevgeniy Ektov (17.22), one from hosts Korea – Kim Duk Hyung (17.10) and former Indian record holder Renjith Maheswary (17.07m in 2010).

The long jump is a cup of tea for the Chinese as their athletes took the top nine spots in 2014 ranking lists. Li Jinzhe (8.47m) and Gao Xinglong (8.18) has set their personal bests this year and going to Incheon to claim the top two spots. The Koreans are fielding defending Asian Games champion Kim Duk Hyung. Kim leapt a distance of 8.20m five years ago and looking for a ‘double’ this time.

 

17th Asian Games – VERTICAL JUMPS – Barshim raises the bar

Mutaz Essa Barshim is the second Asian athlete leading the world rankings this season. The Qatari high jumper and Guangzhou Asiad victor is a world junior champion in 2010. He went on to win a bronze medal in London Olympics and improved it to a silver position in the world championships at Moscow last year before standing on the top of the podium this year as he crowned in the World Indoor championships at Sopot, Poland.

Barshim improved the Asian record in high jump five times to date. Beginning with 2.39m in Lausanne two years ago that erased Zhu Jianhua’s 2.38m set way back in 1984 to his latest classic 2.43m at Brussels in the first week of this month. Incidentally he improved the AR thrice this year itself. Barshim even made some gallant attempts to better Cuban Javier Sotomayor’s 21-year-old world mark of 2.45m but could not succeed yet. Under ideal conditions the Qatari jumper shall provide a proud moment to the Incheon spectators to witness the first-ever world record in athletics at the Asian Games!

Although ranking second, China’s Zhang Guowei (2.34m) will be the main competitor for Barshim in Incheon. Chinese athletes are having a great tradition in high jump. From the days of Ni Zhiqin (Ni Chih-Chin) to Zhu Jianhua, the country behind the great wall has witnessed some of the popular high jumpers in the World. Barshim had a giant advantage of 12:1 winning ratio over Guowei in their head-to-head encounters. But the Chinese will try his might to topple the applecart with the company of his teammate Wang Yu (2.33m PB) and Japan’s Naoto Tobe (2.31m) in Incheon.

In pole vault the main fight will be between two Chinese athletes. Defending champion Yang Yancheng (5.80m PB in 2013) will clash with last year’s Asian champion Xue Changrui (5.80m PB in 2014). Japan’s Daichi Sawano, who scaled 5.83m in 2005, will take compatriot Seito Yamamoto (5.75) and Korean Jin Min-Sub (5.75) to challenge the vaulters from dragon-land.

 

 

17th Asian Games – HURDLE RACES – Chinese are the best

Chinese hurdlers have been winning 110m hurdles almost in every edition of the Asian Games since 1974. Only in 1982 that the title went to Japan’s Yoshifumi Fujimori. Leading continental hurdler Xie Wenjun (13.23 secs) is looking tall even to his compatriot and reigning Asian champion Jiang Fan. Kuwait’s Abdulaziz Al-Mandeel will be another hurdler having podium ambitions.

 

Joseph Abraham, the Indian gold medalist in 400m hurdles four years ago, is not in a good shape to defend his title in Incheon. China’s Cheng Wen (49.28 PB) is expected to log horn with Dmitriy Koblov of Kazakhstan, Takayuki Kishimoto of Japan and Ali Khamis Abbas of Bahrain for the top honours.

 

17th Asian Games – RACE WALKING – Japan vs China

Yusuke Suzuki is one of the two world leading performers of this year taking part in the Asian Games. The Japanese race walker clocked an incredible 1:18:17 in Kobe this February with teammate Eiki Takahashi (1:18:41) making the team to Incheon in 20km. Chinese pair Cai Zelin (1:18:52) and Wang Zhen (1:17:36 PB in 2012) will provide the expected fight to the Japanese along with local favourite Kim Hyun-Sub (1:19:24) also put in some challenge. Whether India’s K.T. Irfan, who finished a credible tenth place in London Olympics, will crack in to grab a medal in the hot pursuit is a question need to be answered only in the days to come.

Another Japanese duo, Takayuki Tanii (3:41:32) and Yuki Yamazaki (3:40:12 PB in 2009), is leading the fray in the grueling 50 km distance. China’s Wang Zhendong (3:47:18) and Zhang Lin (3:48:49) will fight it out for a medal or two Incheon.

 

17th Asian Games – LONG DISTANCES – Bahraini athletes leading the fray

Asian distance running races are now under the control of Bahrain athletes with Albert Rop (13:06.12 in 5000m), El Hassan Elabbasi (27:32.96 in 10000m) and Shumi Dechasa (2:06:44 in Marathon) emerging as the Asian Leaders in their respective events.

Notwithstanding Qatari steeplechaser Ali Abubaker Kamal’s season leading 8:17.27, the line-up includes two much superiors Bahraini barrier crossers in reigning Asian Games gold medalist and Pune winner Tareq Mubarak Taher (8:06.13 PB) and John Koech (8:16.96 PB) to tackle the situation.