India enjoyed a productive day at the 18th Asian Games, adding 5 medals to its tally to take their medal count to 59.
Gold rush continued in track and field events. Jinson Johnson won a gold in the men’s 1500m race. Indian women’s 4x400m team clinched their fifth consecutive gold at the Asian Games, while the men’s relay team squared off the athletics events with a silver.
On day 12 of the Asian Games, India picked up two more Asiad golds in Jakarta, as Jinson Johnson and the women’s 4x400m relay team stretched the country’s overall medals tally to 59.
First, Johnson carved himself a piece of history in Jakarta, sprinting to the 1500m gold medal in 3 mins 44.72 seconds. Johnson subsequently became the first Indian in 56 years to win this event at the Asian Games, following Mohinder Singh’s gold at the 1962 Games. Starting out from the mud tracks of Chakkittapara in the Kozhikode district of Kerala, Johnson was first spotted by K Peter, who has groomed the likes of Mayookha Johny and Nayana James. He later moved to the sports hostel in Baselius college in Kottayam before joining the Indian army in the artillery center in Hyderabad, where he only gained in training and exposure in the sport.
Minutes after Johnson’s impressive run, the relay team, comprising of Hima Das, Saritaben Gayakwad, VK Vismaya and MR Poovama, also cruised to the gold, their timing of 3 minutes 28.72 seconds more than enough to see off Bahrain and Vietnam. The tactic of starting with Hima Das in the first leg proved to be the master stroke. Das gave India a sizable lead after the first leg and even though Bahrain had Salwa Naser in the final leg she had just too much ground to cover as VK Vismaya crossed the finish line to clinch the gold. The last time India failed to finish on the top of the podium in this event was back in 1998 when the team bagged the silver behind China.
India clinched the silver medal in the men’s 4×400 metre event. The Indian quartet of Muhammed Kunhu, Dharun Ayyasamy, Muhammed Anas and Rajiv Arokia clocked a time of 3 minutes and 1.85 seconds.
Chitra Unnikrishnan clinched her first-ever Asian Games medal after winning a bronze in the 1500m event. The 23-year-old, who has a South Asian Games gold clocked a timing of 4 mins 12.56 seconds.
Seema Punia registered her season best throw of 62.26m to clinch the discus throw bronze medal. Punia’s best came on the third attempt and that proved enough to bag a bronze. The other Indian in fray, Sandeep Kumari, finished fifth with a throw of 54.61m on her third attempt.