Jakarta: After 48 years, India claimed a gold in the men’s triple jump — thanks to an effort of 16.77m from Arpinder Singh at the 18th Asian Games on Wednesday. The silver was bagged by Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Kurbanov who notched 16.62m while China’s Shuo Cao won bronze with 16.56m.
Mohindar Singh Gill had bagged India’s last gold in triple jump way back in 1970 and the first one was provided by Mohinder Singh Rai in the 1958 Asian Games.
Arpinder’s win was all the more noteworthy as the field comprised top names from China — Asian Games champion Zhu Yaming and Cao Shuo, who was fourth at the Rio Olympics.
“Performance wasn’t that great, I’m a bit upset about it but having won the gold I would say it is okay and happy for that. I wanted to set a national record here. Minimum, I should have managed is 17 but there was a lot of DNFs, three jumps were really back,” said Arpinder, who had burst onto the scene four years ago by breaking the national record with a leap of 17.17m. The same year, he went on to clinch the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
However, things went took a downward spiral after he decided to shift his base to London for training. The move backfired and he missed the bus for the Rio Olympics in 2016 after a disappointing show in the qualifiers.
After that struggle, Arpinder managed to reprise the same promise that he had at the start of his career when he finished fourth at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games this year. “UK for better training fell flat as everything changed, from training, to weather to coaching. The coach there changed my technique and you can’t change if you have been doing the same thing for years. In 2016, my performance fell. I came back, joined the national camp and things started falling back on track since then,” Arpinder recounted.
Swapna Barman battled a severe toothache to create history by becoming the first Indian to win gold in heptathlon at the continental Games. The 21-year-old accumulated 6026 points from the the seven events held over two days. She won the high jump (1003 points), javelin throw (872 points) before finishing second-best in shot put (707 points) and long jump (865 points).
Earlier, Dutee Chand won her second silver at the Games after finishing second in the women’s 200m final.
With that, she became the first Indian woman in 32 years after P.T. Usha to win medals in both the 100m and 200m events at an Asian Games. Usha had achieved that feat in 1986 when she won silver in the 100m and gold in the 200m and 400m events.
Four years back, Chand was not allowed to compete under the IAAF’s hyperandrogenism policy. She missed the 2014 Commonwealth and Asian Games but later won a case against this policy at the Court of Arbitration for Sports.
“This was more than a medal, Mein ne Badla liya hai, [I have taken my revenge]. I had so much problems in 2014. So many people were saying such bad things about me. But I fought my case and returned and won a medal. People were thinking badly about me but now people are happy that I won a medal for the country,” said a thrilled Chand.
Indian boxers Amit Panghal and Vikas Krishan traded the right punches to assure themselves a medal at the Games by entering the semis in their respective weight categories on Wednesday. Panghal got the better of Kim Jang Ryong of North Korea by a unanimous 5-0 decision in the men’s light flyweight 49 kilogram category, while Krishnan had to battle hard against China’s Tuoheta Erbieke Tanglatihan in the men’s middleweight 75kg division.