China’s Su sails through heats as controversy hits athletics

By Sudipto Ganguly

JAKARTA, Aug 24 : China’s Su Bingtian eased through the 100 metres heats to remain on course to become the continent’s fastest man as athletics got off to a controversial start at the Asian Games on Saturday.

In June Su became the first Asian-born sprinter to run the distance in under 10 seconds when twice in the space of eight days he clocked 9.91 to match the Asian record held by Qatar’s Nigerian-born Femi Ogunode.

He got off to a poor start in Jakarta but his 10.27 was enough to sail through, while Taiwanese Yang Chun-han topped the times in the heats with 10.13.

The loudest cheers were reserved for local hope Lalu Muhammad Zohri, who matched Su’s time in his heat.

The Indonesian teenager will carry the nation’s hopes after his triumph at the under-20 world championships in Finland last month when he clocked 10.18.

Wei Yongli, who recently became the first Asian woman to break the 11-second barrier in the 100 metres, topped the women’s heats with a time of 11.32 seconds.

Both 100 metres finals will be held on Sunday.

BUDHA DENIED START

Daria Maslova gave Kyrgyzstan their second gold medal of the Games winning the women’s 10,000 metres in 32 minutes 7.23 seconds, ahead of Eunice Chumba, of Bahrain, in second, and Chinese Zhang Deshun, who took the bronze.

Nepal’s Bishwarupa Budha suffered an embarrassing blow when she was told by race officials that her entry for the 10,000 metres had been sent too late, and the 23-year-old trudged off the track before the race started.

Hiroto Inoue won the men’s marathon in a controversial sprint finish, with Bahrain later lodging a complaint to race officials, accusing the Japanese runner of barging their runner, Elhassan Elabbassi, who finished second.

Inoue was marginally ahead when Moroccan-born Elabbassi tried to overtake the Japanese on the inside. They made contact, resulting in the Bahraini stumbling slightly and losing ground to his rival.

“We have lodged a complaint with the race officials,” Bahrain’s chef de mission, Mohammed Bader, told Reuters. “Our athlete would have easily won the race. The Japanese athlete kept blocking him. Everyone saw that.” The duo were credited with identical times of two hours, 18 minutes and 22 seconds.

On the field, Tajinderpal Singh Toor handed India their seventh gold medal of the 18th Asiad with a Games record throw of 20.75 metres in the men’s shot put. China’s Liu Yang won silver and Ivan Ivanov the bronze for Kazakhstan.

Luo Na and Wang Zheng made it a one-two for China in the women’s hammer, with Hitomi Katsuyama taking the bronze for Japan.

/Reuters

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