BAHRAIN captured seven medals last night, including four gold and three silver, to enjoy a spectacular start to the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships, being held in Doha.
“Golden Girl” Salwa Naser lived up to her billing as one of the world’s leading elite sprinters as she added yet another accolade to her already-long list of accomplishments, clinching gold in the women’s 400m.
Also winning their respective Asian titles were Winfred Yavi in the women’s 5,000m, John Koech in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase and Dawit Fikadu in the men’s 10,000m.
Meanwhile, Noora Jassim won the silver medal in the women’s shot put while setting a new National Record.
Bontu Rebitu added a silver medal in the women’s 5,000m behind Yavi, while Hassan Chani won a silver in a men’s 10,000m for a fine one-two with Fikadu.
In the women’s 400m final, Salwa was dominant and she clocked her season’s best time of 51.34s in securing first.
She finished nearly two seconds ahead of silver-medallist Elina Mikhina of Kazakhstan who had a time of 53.19s, while India’s Poovamma Machettira won the bronze in 53.21s.
Bahrain’s Zainab Mohammed competed in the same race but finished eighth overall in 54.61s.
In the women’s 5,000m final, Rebitu was the leader in the early stages but over the final two laps, it was Yavi all alone in front with Rebitu chasing not far behind.
Yavi won in a personal best time of 15m 28.87s, while Rebitu claimed the silver with her season’s best of 15m 29.60s. India’s Parul Chaudhary came third in 15m 36.03s.
In the men’s 3,000m steeplechase final, Koech powered to the lead midway through the race and by the final two laps was running all alone in the front with a healthy gap from the rest of the field. Koech won with a time of 8m 25.87s.
In the men’s 10,000m, Fikadu not only claimed the victory but he also registered a personal best of 28m 26.30s. Chani was the runner-up in his season’s best of 28m 31.30s.
In the women’s shot put, Noora set a new Bahraini record of 18.00 metres with her second effort in the event. She was more than a metre behind the gold medal winner.
Elsewhere yesterday, Aminat Yusuf Jamal advanced to the women’s 400m hurdles final after winning the first of two heats with a time of 57.49s.
Andrew Fisher punched his ticket into the semi-finals of the men’s 100m after winning the first of five heats with his season’s best time of 10.15s. In heat three, Abdo Baraka was disqualified for a false start.
In the men’s 400m, Abbas Abubaker qualified for the medal round after placing second in his semi-final heat in 45.27s, which was his season’s best.
In the women’s 100m, Iman Jassim qualified for the semi-finals in 11.50s. She was second in the first of four heats. Hajar Alkhaldi joined her after finishing third in the fourth and final heat in a season’s best of 11.81s.
Marta Hirpato qualified for the women’s 800m final after finishing fifth in the first of two heats. She qualified as a lucky loser with a time of 2m 06.69s.
Abraham Rotich bowed out of contention in the semi-final stage of the men’s 800m, while Mohammed Tiouali had earlier been eliminated in the first round.
In the men’s Discus Throw final, Bahrain’s Marwan Medany was ranked 12th overall with a best throw of 50.91m, which was his season’s best.