Despite the presence of Olympic champion Chen Ding and world champion Miguel Angel Lopez, the pre-race favourite on current form was China’s Wang Zhen, Asian Games champion didn’t disappoint.
He pulled away from a seven-strong leading pack at 17 kilometres and quickly established a lead which proved to be insurmountable before winning in 1:19:14.
His strategy was a mixture of astute championship racing and pure gambler’s luck.
Great Britain’s Tom Bosworth was the leader for much of the first half of the race, edging to the front just before the 4km mark and then laying down the gauntlet for everyone to follow.
Initially, he was tracked by Kenya’s African champion Samuel Gathimba who followed him a few strides behind until just before 8km, when he got on the Briton’s shoulder.
However, Gathimba was to start struggling soon afterwards and drifted backwards rapidly before dropping out just after 18km.
Bosworth passed the halfway point on his own in 40:10 with Japan’s Daisuke Matsunaga coming out of the chasing pack and passing 10km five seconds in arrears, with the 22-strong group another seven seconds further back.
Notable at this point was that Chen Ding was almost certainly not going to retain his title or even get on the podium.
The 2012 Olympic gold medallist had looked uncomfortable in the leading pack for several kilometres. After the 10th kilometre he had got detached and was trailing six seconds off the back of the main pack and down in 26th place.
Lopez also looked far from his usual calm and controlled self and was hanging on grimly at the rear of the challenging group.
Over the next two kilometres, Bosworth sped up and was within eight minutes for the next 2km split around the Pontal course. But Matsunaga was race walking even faster and had closed the gap to two seconds, while China’s Cai Zelin decided to protectively cover the two men in front of him and had pushed hard to remove himself from the pack.
World Race Walking Team Championships silver medallist Cai continued to motor and overtook Matsunaga and then Bosworth but the pack also started to increase their pace, consuming Bosworth and Matsunaga just before the 14km checkpoint and Cai shortly after, making it a 12-man mass together entering the final quarter of the race.
The pack – which also contained local hope and Brazilian record-holder Caio Bonfim, who was getting rousing cheers every step of the way – was reduced to nine over the next lap with Cai, whose cadence can best be described as a resembling a boxer doing his road workout, pushing the pace at the front.
WANG PICKS HIS MOMENT
This remained the state of affairs until Wang, a much more fluent and elegant race walker than his teammate, made his decisive bid for glory with three kilometres to go.
He quickly put four seconds between himself and the chasers, still led by his compatriot Cai, with the penultimate lap taking just 7:42, the fastest split of the race at that point.
This was just a prelude to what Wang was able to unleash over the final 2km, a split of 7:26, which Cai had no way of countering.
After Wang had crossed the line in 1:19:14, Cai came home 12 seconds later, the winner having put an additional eight seconds between himself and the man in second place over the final 2km.
Coming home third was an utterly delighted Dane Bird-Smith of Australia who managed to pull away from Bonfim over the final one-kilometre lap to take the bronze medal in a personal best of 1:19:37.
The evidence of what getting a medal meant to Bird-Smith could be seen barely a minute after he crossed the line when the realisation that he would be on the podium led to him starting to sob uncontrollably on the shoulder of Bosworth.
Bonfim missed out on what would have been a memorable medal by five seconds – the highest any Brazilian race walker of either gender had finished before at the Olympics was 14th – but he had the consolation of setting a national record of 1:19:42.
Germany’s Christoper Linke finished fifth in 1:20:00 with the early leader Bosworth finishing a hugely commendable sixth in a national record of 1:20:13.
Further down the field, Miguel Angel Lopez got something of a second wind and finished 11th while Chen was down in a disappointing 39th place, more than four minutes behind the winner.
Ho Chi Minh City- Japan emerged on the top of the medal tally of the 17th Asian Junior Athletics Championship 2016 held at Ho Chi Minh City from June 3-6. Japan athletes won 13 Gold, 10 Silver and 4 Bronze medal. Runners up position went to China with 11 Gold, 7 Silver and 4 bronze medals. India finished on the third rank with 7 Gold 4 Silver and 4 Bronze.
Ishizuka Haruko of Japan was in the clear by the time she crossed 10th hurdle, winning gold medal in the women 400m hurdles with a performance of 57.91s. Khuat Phuong Anh of Vietnam took over Lin Yu Chieh of Chinese Taipei at the finish line to secud silver medal in 59.78s. Lin clocked 1:00.02 for bronze medal.
It was another Japanese victory in the men's 400m hurdles when Watanabe Yoshiro fend of late challenge from Feng Zhiqiang of China to win race in 50.86s. Feng clocked 51.49s for silver medal while Kim Hyan-bin of South Korea took bronze with a performance of 52.55s
Men's javelin throw final kept its drama till the last throw thanks to the championship record breaking throw by Sado Junya of Japan in the last attempt measuring 77.97m. This upset rhythm of Niraj Chopra of India and World junior leader who failed to respond Sado's throw and had to settle with first round best of 79.60m. Both throwers broke 15 years old championship record of 79.22m set by Chen Qi of China. Pakistan's Nadeem Arshad won bronze medal with a best throw of 73.40m
Jin-Suok Sung of Korea jumped to 16.19m his second ever best distance in the triple jump which was enough to secure him gold medal in the final of the men's triple jump. Liu Mingxuan of China leaped to 16.05m for silver medal. India's Sonu Kumar beat Srilanka's Liyanpedige by 1cm to claim bronze medal with a jump of 15.99m.
Lili Das of India secured double gold medal of the championship with a win in the women's 800m final clocking 2:06.64s. Ikezaki Airi of Japan pushed hard in the home stretch to catch up with Lily but had to settle on the second place in 2:07.21s. Arina Kleshchukova of Kyrgyzstan won only medal for her country in the form of bronze with a performance of 2:07.56s.
In the men's 800m, India's Amoj Jacob PA had enough time to punch in the air before finish line and still winning the race while others trying to catch up with him. Amoj clocked 1:51.82s to win gold medal for India. It was another tactical error for Qatar's Youssouf Idriss who lost out on the gold medal for the second time. Idriss finished on the second place in 1:52.28s while Albzaznah Mohammed Raheem of Iraq took third place in 1:52.78s.
As expected Yang Chun Han of Chinese Taipei won men's 200m final with a performance of 20.73s though still outside of Rio grade. Jantan Khairul Hafiz of Malaysia won his second medal of the championship with a performance of 21.15s. Inuzuka Wataru of Japan finished close on the third place with 21.16s.
It was time for home crowd to cheer for Le Tu Chinh who went on to win gold medal in the women 200m final with a performance of 23.94s. Emotional Le could not control her tears of joy following the win. Poolekerd Supanich of Thailand crossed finish line on the second place in 24.41s while Mohd Sabri Noor Eeewan Syafiqah of Malaysia won bronze medal in 24.50s.
Du Jiani of China win Gold medal in the women's heptathlon scoring total points of 5031. Aleksandra Yurkevskaya of Uzbekistan finished second with 4859 points and Vietnam's Nguyen Linh Na won bronze in 4564 points
Nana Kuraoka of Japan won women's 3000m gold medal with a performance of 9:31.46s. DPR Korea's Pak Jin Hyang (9:50.72s) and Choe Hyon Ju (10:01.94s) took second and third place respectively.
In the men's 10000m, Sota Watanabe took early lead for about half way before India's Abhishek Pal, brother of Rahul Pal who had won gold medal in 10000m in Colombo Asian Junior 2012 took over the lead from Sota but it did not last long and 3 laps to go Sota surged ahead to develop a considerable gap which Abhishek tried to close to just a meter by the time Sota crossed finish line with winning time of 31:23.93s. Abhishek took silver medal in 31:24.06s. Kisan Tadvi of India won bronze medal in 32:07.12s.
Men's 4x400m relay was won by Thailand clocked 3:11.59s to beat India to second place. Indian team managed 3:12.12s while Saudi Arabian team grabbed third spot in 3:12.37s.
Last gold medal of the championship went to Indian women team who won women 4x400m relay with a performance of 3:43.57s beating host Vietnam team. Vietnam clocked 3:44.56s while Thailand finished on the third place in 3:50.79s.
Photos from day 4 - https://www.facebook.com/asianjunior/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1002277336545996
attached files- results day 4 and final medal tally