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.
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.
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.
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
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.