India’s first gold at the 23rd Asian athletics championships came from an unlikely source at the Khalifa International Stadium on Monday.
Gomathi Marimuthu ran the race of her life, with a smart strategy, as she fought her way from the back of the pack and shocked the field to take the women’s 800m honours. It was the 30-year-old Tamil Nadu athlete’s first major gold.
Gomathi made her move on the back straight and midway through the home straight. With the two leading runners virtually blocking her, she smartly moved to the outer lane, surprised Kazakhstan’s Margarita Mukasheva and China’s Wang Chunyu and took the coveted medal in a personal best 2:02.70s. Her previous best (2:03.21) was the golden run at the Federation Cup at Patiala recently.
Gomathi’s was not the day’s only big surprise. Neeraj Chopra might be missing here and Davinder Singh Kang may not be anywhere close to his best, but Shivpal Singh kept the javelin throw in the limelight as he took the silver with an impressive second-round effort of 86.23m.