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Asian Athletics: PU Chitra Lights Up Last Day With Gold as India Finish Fourth

PU Chitra won gold in the 1500m on the final day of the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha as Ajay Kumar Saroj (1500m), the women’s 4x400m relay quartet and Dutee Chand rounded up the medal flurry with two silvers and a bronze to help India to fourth on the overall medals table.
PU Chitra dashes to gold at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha

PU Chitra overtook Bahrain’s Tigist Gashaw in the final few metres to win gold in the women’s 1500 event at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha.

India won four medals on the final day of the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha on April 24. PU Chitra defended her Asian title with a gold in the women’s 1500m race while Ajay Kumar Saroj (men’s 1500m) finished second, missing out on an Indian golden double in the distance. The women’s 4x400m relay team also won silver, while Dutee Chand rounded off India’s medal haul at the Khalifa Stadium with a bronze in the women’s 200m race.

Chitra went past Bahrain’s Tigist Gashaw in the final stretch, a few metres before the finish line in fact, winning in 4 minutes, 14.56 seconds. This was India’s third gold at the championships after Gomathi Marimuthu (women’s 800m) and Tajinder Pal Singh Toor (men’s shot put) won a gold each on April 22.

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“Got a little nervous towards the end being next to Bahraini runner (Tigist). She beat me to third place at the Asian Games. I had to really push hard in the end,” Chitra was quoted by news agencies after the race. The 23-year-old had won gold in the 2017 edition in Bhubaneswar, with a time of 4:17.92.

There was no such late charge for Saroj in the men’s 1500m, who clocked a season’s-best time of 3 minutes, 43.18 seconds to clinch silver behind Bahrain’s Abraham Kipchirchir Rotich (3:42.85).

The other silver winners of the day, the women’s 4x400m relay team of Prachi Choudhary, MR Poovamma, Saritaben Gayakwad and VK Vismaya, recorded a time of 3:32.21, behind Bahrain, who clocked 3:32.10.

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Meanwhile Dutee, who finished a disappointing fifth in the 100m final a couple of days back, clocked 23.24 seconds to win bronze in the women’s 200m. Dutee had a slow start to the race and clawed her way back after the first 100m, going past three rivals to finish third. Salwa Naser of Bahrain won gold in 22.74s while Olga Safronova of Kazakhstan was second in 22.87s.

Indians suffered a disappointment too after the men’s 4x400 relay team, which finished second, was disqualified after an infringement during the final race.  

India’s finished the championships with 17 medals, which put them at fourth in the standings. Bahrain topped the meet with 11 gold, 7 silver and 4 bronze medals, followed by China, Japan and India.

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