Saturday 23 September 2017
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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 – 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 – SPRINTS – MIDDLE DISTANCES – Redemption time for Sajjad Moradi

Iran’s Sajjad Moradi is a defending champion in 800m and silver medalist in 1500m at Guangzhou. He went to participate in the Asian Games as a junior 12 years ago at Busan 2002, where he finished eleventh in 1500m. After a fortnight he clinched a silver in 800 and bronze in 1500m in the continental junior championships at Bangkok. He had a forgettable outing in Doha four years later as he could not finish his race in 1500m final. However learning from his experience Moradi posted a personal best 3:37.09 to gain a silver medal behind Saudi Arabia’s Mohamed Othman Shahween (3:36.49) in 2010. Two days later at Guangzhou he had emerged as a ‘champion’ in 800m with a noteworthy 1:45.45.

It was in Incheon, Moradi clocked his best time in the two lap race – 1:45.45 – with a bronze medal in Asian championships. The Iranian once again finished outside the podium in last year’s Asian championships at Pune – 4th in 1500m and 8th in 800m. Qatar’s Abdulrahman Musaeb Bala emerged triumphant in Pune and is leading the Incheon start-lists for 800m with a superior 1:44.03 timed at Rieti where he recorded his personal best 1:43.93 last year. Also in Incheon will be Bahrain’s Youssef Saad Kamel (1:42.79 PB) and Saudi runner Abdulaziz (1:44.30) will make things difficult for Moradi. Two other Bahraini athletes – Benson Seurei (3:34.24 SB) and Rashid Ramzi (3:29.14 PB) – are ready to engage in a three-cornered contest with Moradi in the metric mile!

 

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.

 

17th Asian Games – HEPTATHLON – Tarasova or Voronina

Uzbekistan’s continental leader Yekaterina Voronina (5890 points) and defending champion Yuliya Tarasova (5989 PB in 2009) will try to salvage some pride as Thailand’s Wassanee Winatho (5889 PB in 2007) pushed the former to second place in last year’s Asian championships. Also looking for a multi-event medal are Wang Qingling of China, Chu Chia-Ling of Chinese-Taipei and Susmita Singha Roy of India.