Asian Athletics Championships: Jyothi Yarraji, Sreeshankar Murali star as India win 27 medals

July 17, 2023

Asian Athletics Championships


India enjoyed a fruitful 2023 Asian Athletics Championships with long jumper Sreeshankar Murali and hurdler Jyothi Yarraji starring at the competition in Bangkok, Thailand.

In the men’s long jump, Sreeshankar recorded an impressive 8.37m jump to clinch the silver medal as well as secure his place in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Yarraji sprinted to gold in the women’s 100m hurdles before ending her campaign with a silver in the 200m event.

India finished with six gold, 12 silver and nine bronze medals for a combined tally of 27 medals – their most successive outing after the 2017 edition in Bhubaneswar.

On Saturday, the penultimate day of the contest, Sreeshankar recorded his best jump outside India to secure his place in next year’s Paris Olympics.

“I came from Switzerland last week, so it was a surprise for me,” Sreeshankar said in a media interaction after winning silver. “I think I have done quite well in getting a good jump at the last jump.

“I thought it would definitely be above 8.45m because when I saw the jump, it was very close to that 8.50 line. So, I thought it was a winning jump. But unfortunately, we fell very short.”

Sreeshankar could have won gold but was beaten to it by Chinese Taipei’s Yu-Tang Lin who posted a best jump of 8.40m to add the Asian Championships title to the Asian Indoor Championships gold he won in February this year.

“It was a really good competition,” Sreeshankar said. “And all my previous jumps, I was taking off much behind the board, like just only touching the board in a few of the jumps. So, I knew that today would be a good day for jumping because the weather was similar to Bhubaneswar.”

Having won silver in the 60m hurdles at the indoor championships, Yarraji upgraded her medal to gold in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.0s, just 0.26s short of her personal best. The 23-year-old ended her campaign with a silver medal in the 200m event on the final day of competition on Sunday.

The quartet of Rajesh Ramesh, Aishwarya Kailash Mishra, Amoj Jacob, Subha Venkatesan clinched the 4x400m mixed relay event. In a thrilling race, Venkatesan, running as anchor, got the better of her Sri Lankan and Japanese competitors over the final bend to win gold.

Yarraji was not the only multiple medal-winner in Bangkok, as Parul Chaudhary took full advantage of the absent Bahraini athletes to win gold in the 3000m steeplechase event and silver in the 5000m event.

Tajinderpal Singh Toor made it back-to-back Asian Championships gold medals after winning the men’s shot put title with a 20.23m throw. Toor’s successful title defence bodes well for him going into the World Athletics Championship in August.

Abdulla Aboobacker and Ajay Kumar Saroj also won gold medals in the men’s triple jump and 1500m events respectively.

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