Bahrain enjoyed another gold rush at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, yesterday when world champion Winfred Yavi stormed to victory in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase and the 4x400 mixed relay team ran the race of their lives to claim the gold medal.
Yavi, who also won the event in the 2018 Asian Games and for whom this was her third major title in six weeks after her World Championship triumph in Budapest in late August and her victory in the Diamond League in Oregon last month, defended her title in a new Asian Games record time of 9 minutes 18.28 seconds.
This was also the second gold medal that pre-race favourite Yavi clinched inside two days after her triumph in the women’s 1,500m on Sunday.
“I had a lot of pressure with people saying ‘you’re going to win’,” the 23-year-old, Kenyan-born athlete said afterwards.
“So I was careful and just tried to break the Asian Games record.”
Meanwhile, the 4x400m mixed relay team staved off a strong challenge by Sri Lanka and India to race to the victory podium with a time of 3:14.02.
Musa Ali Isah ran the first leg in 43.30s before he handed the baton to Oluwakemi Odekoya. After running the second leg in 54.10s, she passed it to Abbas Yusuf Ali and, after running the third leg in 45.68s, he, in turn, handed it to Salwa Eid Naser, who sprinted across the finish line in 50.94s.
There was high drama after the race after Sri Lanka, who had finished in second place were disqualified for a lane infringement, which meant that India, who had initially placed third, won silver with Kazakhstan receiving the bronze.
And there was redemption, also, for Naser, who had suffered the heartbreak of being disqualified for a false start in the women’s 200m final earlier.
But Bahrain still got into the medals list in that race with Nigerian-born Edidiong Odiong – who won the event in the 2018 Asian Games – nabbing the bronze with a time of 23.48s, behind gold medallist Shanti Pereira, of Singapore, who clocked 23.03s and silver medallist China’s Yuting Li, who was timed at 23.28s.
With the latest haul yesterday, Bahrain is ranked 10th on the competition medals list with six gold, one silver and four bronze medals.
Hosts China head the list with a whopping 270 medals, including 147 gold, 81 silver and 42 bronze medals.