Asian Games-Chopra wins javelin gold as India hail best Asian Games

Asian Games – Hangzhou 2022 – Athletics – Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, Hangzhou, China – October 4, 2023 Gold medallist India’s Neeraj Chopra reacts after the Men’s Javelin Throw final REUTERS/Marko Djurica

HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) -Indian trailblazer Neeraj Chopra added Asian Games gold to his Olympic and world titles in javelin after a technical mishap on Wednesday as his nation celebrated its biggest medal haul at the continental showpiece.

Confusion reigned at the Hangzhou Olympic stadium as Chopra was asked to repeat his first throw, with officials having failed to record his mark before the next thrower sent his javelin down.

Asian Games – Hangzhou 2022 – Archery – Fuyang Yinhu Sports Centre Final Field, Hangzhou, China – October 4, 2023 India’s Jyothi Surekha Vennam and Ojas Pravin Deotale pose with their gold medal during the medal ceremony for the Compound Mixed Team REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

It scarcely mattered, though, as India’s first Olympic athletics champion posted 88.88 metres on his fourth registered effort, more than 70 cm further than Budapest where he claimed the country’s first title in track and field.

Chopra’s cancelled first throw caused a lengthy hiatus as officials discussed the dilemma — but he agreed to throw again.

“I didn’t have any other choice as it was disturbing the other competitors, too,” said Chopra, whose team mate Kishore Jena took silver with a personal best of 87.54m.

“This is the first time this has happened to me in a competition.

“The rule is for six throws but I threw seven times.”

There was less drama in the high jump, though, where Qatari great Mutaz Barshim clinched his third Asian Games gold, 13 years after his first in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

The triple world champion, who owns the second highest jump of all-time (2.43 metres), cleared 2.35m before missing all three attempts at 2.37m.

“When I was young, in 2006, the previous Asian Games before I competed, I was a volunteer holding the basket for the high jumpers,” he said.

“I really wanted to win that. So winning today my third gold after a bad injury (in 2018), I should be really happy and satisfied.”

South Korea’s Woo Sang-hyeok was runner-up with a jump of 2.33m.

With four more days of competition to come, India surged past 80 medals, smashing their previous Games record of 70 at Jakarta five years ago.

Their athletes medaled in six out of eight of track and field titles on Wednesday, including a dominant win in the men’s 4x400m relay ahead of runners-up Qatar.

Asian Games – Hangzhou 2022 – Athletics – Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, Hangzhou, China – October 4, 2023 India’s Neeraj Chopra in action during the Men’s Javelin Throw final REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Archers Ojas Pravin Deotale and Jyothi Surekha Vennam took the record 71st medal by winning the mixed team compound event, triggering congratulations from India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We are celebrating our best-ever medal tally, a testament to the unparalleled dedication, grit and sporting spirit of our athletes,” Modi wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The rising Asian power has work to do to catch China, though, with the hosts having sailed past 300 medals and won more than 170 golds.

China’s Li Qian, runner-up in women’s middleweight boxing at the Tokyo Olympics, beat India’s world champion Lovlina Borgohain for the 66-75kg division title.

Li turned the tables on Borgohain who beat the Chinese boxer in the semi-finals on the way to the middleweight world championship in March.


The Games were hit by a second doping case, with Saudi Arabian distance runner Yousef Mohammed Alasiri testing positive for a blood-booster and provisionally banned.

Alasiri was entered in the men’s 5,000 and 10,000m events but did not start either.

North Korea, which has been deemed non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency for years, took a fifth gold medal in weightlifting, with Ri Chong Song winning the men’s 81kg title.

In its first international competition since before COVID-19, the reclusive nation has broken a slew of world records in women’s weightlifting.

China completed a sweep of the race walking events, picking up gold in the mixed team 35km early on Wednesday, having already dominated the men’s and women’s individual events.

Myanmar claimed their first gold of the Games, beating Indonesia for the men’s quadrant title in sepak takraw, the traditional kick volleyball sport popular in Southeast Asia.

Four-times Asian Cup champions Japan ended Hong Kong’s dream run in the soccer semi-finals with a thumping 4-0 win and will face South Korea, who beat Uzbekistan 2-1, for the gold.

Test-playing nation Bangladesh had a huge scare in the cricket quarter-finals against Malaysia but a death bowling masterclass by all-rounder Afif Hossain secured a two-run win in the T20 match.

Malaysia needed five runs from the last over but Hossain, who took three wickets, conceded only two, ensuring Bangladesh will meet Games debutants India in the semi-finals.

Afghanistan, who knocked Sri Lanka out with an eight-run win, will meet Pakistan in the other semi-final.

In the background, a power struggle for control of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), which runs the Games, overshadowed the event.

Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah lodged a case against the global International Olympic Committee at the Court of Arbitration for Sport following his ban for “influencing” the election of his brother to the OCA presidency in July.



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