2016-02-19 - Day 2 Preview - 7th Asian Indoor Championships
Seven titles will be up for grabs on day two of the 7th Asian Indoor Championships on Saturday (20 Feb) with Olympic triple jump champion Olga Rypakova commanding much of the spotlight.
The 31-year-old from Kazakhstan returns to the Aspire Dome, the site where she won the Asian indoor title in her specialty in 2008 and the world indoor title in 2010 with a 15.14m leap. That's an Asian record that still stands and ranks Rypakova No. 3 all-time indoors. Rypakova finished third in the long jump on the first day of competition, but looks unstoppable in her main event.
We can however expect a tight battle in the men’s pole vault, where Japan's Seito Yamamoto leads the field. The 23-year-old, who raised the Japanese national record to 5.77m last month in Reno, Nevada, USA, will face compatriot Hiroki Ogita, China's rising star Huang Bokai, and Nikita Filippov of Kazakhstan. Huang, just 19, recently cleared 5.70m to win at a meeting in Gent, Belgium.
In the men’s 1500m, Mohamed Al Garni takes to the track for his first of two title defences. He’ll face Marouane Habti of Bahrain and Mohammed Othman Shaween of Saudi Arabia, the 2012 Asian indoor champion and winner in the event at the 2010 Asian Games.
In the women's 400 metres, Oluwakemi Adekoya of Bahrain underscored her role as favourite after a 51.68 Asian record run in her qualifying round heat. It was a solo effort that suggests she might go even faster in the final if she's pushed by Elina Mikhina of Kazakhstan, the second fastest from the opening round.
On the men's side, the contest is shaping up into a battle between Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar and Bahraini Abubaker Abbas who both dipped comfortably under 47 seconds in the semi-finals, the former impressively in 46.38.
Triple jump honours on the men's side are expected to go to Kazakhstan as well, where Roman Valiyev and Yevgeniy Ektov will battle for the top podium spot. Both have jumps of 17.20m or better outdoors to their credit.
And in the women's 3000 metres, Ruth Jebet of Bahrain, the 2014 world junior champion in the steeplechase and still just 19, will be the woman to beat.
Action will also include the opening round of the men’s and women’s 60 metres hurdles and day one of the men’s heptathlon.