Vastavam web: Sudha Singh clinched a gold in women’s 3000m steeplechase event to swell India’s medal tally on the third and penultimate day at the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships here on Saturday.The Uttar Pradesh athlete won the race in 9 minute 59.47 seconds to grab the first gold of the day for India in front of a packed crowd at the Kalinga Stadium. Sudha, who had also won a silver each in the 2009, 2011 and 2013 editions, was a gold medal contender in the absence of compatriot Lalita Babar, who skipped the event after her recent marriage, and Bahrain’s world and Asian record holder Ruth Jebet.
It was a creditable sub-10 minute win for Sudha who has been away from training for several months after she suffered from swine flu on her return from the Rio Olympic Games last year.North Korea’s 18-year-old Hyo Gyong was a distant second in 10:13.94 while Japan’s Nana Sato took the bronze in 10:18.11.”I am very happy to win this gold. This is my top level competition after Rio Olympics. I was down with swine flu after the Rio Olympics and I was down for five-six months and after that I started training slowly and steadily. So, this win is special. It is a slow timing but the conditions are not that good,” she said after her win.
However, in men’s 3000m steeplechase, Naveen Kumar, a bronze medalist in 2014 Asian Games, and Durga Das Budha finished a disappointing seventh and eighth in 9:02.95 and 9:04.05 respectively.In men’s 110m hurdles, India’s Siddharth Thingalaya finished fifth in 13.72 seconds. Kuwait won both the gold and silver with Abdulazia Al-Mandeel and Yaqoub Al-Youha clocking 13.50 and 13.59 respectively.