Girls of Pure Gold.

ASIAN GAMES: Anu Rani led from the front and won the women's javelin event and Parul Chaudhary races past Japan's Ririka Hironaka.

Oct 4, 2023 - 15:38
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Girls of Pure Gold.
Indian Athlete Parul Chaudhary.

History created and records broken. That was the Indian athletics' story from the track and field arena of the Olympic Stadium here. It was another super show which saw India claiming six medals in athletics on Tuesday, powered by steeplechaser Parul Chaudhary and Annu Rani's sensational gold-winning effort. The two achieved a significant milestone for Indian athletics in the history of the continental Games- becoming the first women to top the podium in the 5,000m race and javelin throw. Later, Tejaswin Shankar made a sensational Games debut in the decathlon event, breaking Bharatinder Singh's 12-year old national record of 7658 to clinch an impressive silver with a total of 7666 points from 10 events. 

It was Parul who started India's gold rush with a superlative show in the women's 5,000m under overcast conditions, recovering from a lowly sixth place till the halfway mark to pip Japan's Ririka Hironaka in the last 25m of her race to secure the top position. All through her race, the 28-year old Meerut girl had only one thought racing in her mind-to secure a gold and join Uttar Pradesh's police as a Deputy Superitendent. Lagging for most part, the 28-year old switched gears in the final two laps. From sixth spot, she first recovered to fourth and then to the second position to burst through in the final 25m to edge past Hironaka. The Japanese clocked for silver, while Caroline Chepkoech Kiplirui of Kazakhstan settled for bronze. On Monday, Parul had won her first Asian Games medal-a silver -in the women's 3000m steeplechase. 

"In the last 50m, I was thinking that my state government would give me a nice job. The government had this policy that whosoever wins the gold at Asian Games will be made a DSP. That was the only thing which had kept my mind occupied during the final burst. I felt great after claiming the top spot. Now, I can be a DSP, too", said Parul, currently working with Northern Railway as a Travelling Ticket Examiner. "Last night, I was tired after winning silver. I slept only for three hours. Since I wasn't able to win gold medal in the 3000m steeplechase, I wanted to get gold in 5000m anyhow. The gods were kind enough", she added. Parul said she had strategically planned her race and was confident of finishing first despite trailing for a major part of the competition. 

Before Parul, Sunita Rani, OP Jaisha, Preeja Sreedharan and Kavita Raut have won Asian Games medals in the women's 5000m. In the women's javelin, the 31-year-old Annu Rani created history by becoming the first Indian female javelin thrower to win Asian Games gold. She produced a season-best effort of 62.92m in her fourth attempt to secure the top spot. It was a brilliant show by Annu as she crossed the 60m-mark for the first time since winning the bronze at the Birmingham CWG last year. Dilhani Lekamage of Sri Lanka and Huihui Lyu of China settled for silver and bronze medals, respectively. This was Annu's second Asiad medal after winning bronze Incheon 2014. "I worked hard for this medal the whole year. This was my last competition of the season. Thankfully, the performance came through", Annu said. 

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