Friday 21 July 2017
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LONG THROWS – Mighty Chinese all the way

With China’s season leading performer Yang Yanbo not entered in discus throw, India’s Commonwealth Games silver medalist Seema Punia entered the arena as a leading thrower. Although she had winning at least a medal in each edition of the Commonwealth Games since 2006, Seema entered the Asian Games for the first time in Incheon. If she tackles the Chinese duo of Lu Xiaoxin (63.27m PB in 2013) and Tan Jian (64.45m PB in 2012) and Chinese-Taipei’s Li Tsai-Yi (60.23m PB in 2012) the gold will be hers.

The hammer throw is the forte for Chinese. 2013 Asian champion Wang Zheng recently improved the continental mark to 77.68m. Defending Asian Games champion and former record-holder (76.99m in 2012) Zhang Wenxiu will cross swords with her country-mate for the supreme position.

Current Asian champion Li Lingwei (65.11m PB in 2012) and her compatriot Zhang Li (64.74m PB in 2012) are spearheading to get 1-2 for China in javelin throw. Sri Lankan Nadeeka Lakmali, who posed a threat to the Chinese thrower in Pune and settled with a silver medal in the Asian championships, will once again try for a medal while reigning Asian Games champion Yuki Ebihara of Japan will also have similar ambitions in mind.

 

17th Asian Games – SHOT PUT – Gong Lijiao, a cut above the rest

With two bronze medals in Olympic Games (London-2012) and World championships (Moscow-2013) already on her collection, Gong Lijiao looking formidable in shot put. Four years ago she finished second behind her Chinese teammate Li Ling in Guangzhou. However with the second Chinese entry in Incheon, Guo Tianqian lagging nearly two metres behind her, Lijiao scripted her victory even before the competitions begin

17th Asian Games – RACE WALKING – A Chinese terrain

The race walkers from China are miles ahead from the rest. London Olympics sixth placer Lu Xiuzhi (1:27:15) and her teammate Nie Jingjing (1:28:43) will certainly make it a Chinese affair in women’s 20 km walk. Indian Khushbir Kaur (1:31:40), Japan’s Rei Inoue (1:31:48) and Korean Jeon Yeong-Eun (1:33:38) will try their luck for the remaining medal on the podium.

17th Asian Games – HORIZONTAL JUMPS – Close contests in the offing

Korea’s reigning Asian Games champion Jung Soon-Ok could manage only 6.37m this season. Sachiko Masumi had won the Asian championship in Pune last year. Surprisingly Japan did not field any athletes in long jump. China’s Jiang Yanfei and Lu Minjia, both with season’s best of 6.57m, leading the lists. It may be an open house with Uzbek duo Yuliya Tarasova (6.81m PB in 2010) and Darya Reznichenko (6.60m in 2012) with Philippine’s Marestella Torres (6.71m PB in 2011) and Indian Mayookha Johny (6.64m PB in 2010) entered in the start-lists.

With Olympic champion Olga Rypakova entered the field there will be little opposition for the Kazakh in triple jump. China’s Li Yanmei (14.14m) is the only other 14m jumper in the season, although seven other with personal bests greater than that distance has been entered in Incheon.

17th Asian Games – MIDDLE DISTANCES – Young vs Experienced

Reigning Asian Games champion Margarita Mukasheva and Indian half-miler Tintu Lukka will clash for the top spot in 800m. Their head-to-head winning ratio is in favour of Mukasheva (6:1). But the presence of Belayneh Betlhem Desalegn will make things different for the duo. Formerly known as Maryam Mubarak Abdullah of Ethiopia, Betlhem migrated to the United Arab Emirates and won two gold medals for her adopted country in the Pune Asian championships in 1500m and 5000m. In Incheon she is entered in as much as four events – 800m, 1500m, 5000m and 3000m steeplechase. It may change at the time of confirming the entries prior to the commencement of athletics competitions.

Mimi Belete (4:00.08) and defending champion Maryam Jama (4:04.10)l are top 1500m runners from Bahrain. India’s O.P. Jaisha, who recently posted a personal best 4:09.14, may do some surprise act in the metric mile. From the Chinese team, Zhao Jing and Liu Fang are the best bets in 800 and 1500m events respectively.