History made: Gomathi Marimuthu, a farmer's daughter from Tiruchirappalli, wins India's First Gold at the Asian Athletics Championships.
The previously unheralded 30-year-old middle distance runner Gomathi Marimuthu gave India its first gold medal in the women's 800m race as the country added four medals on the second day of the Asian Athletics Championships on Monday. The athlete who hails from a farmer's family in Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, created history winning India’s first gold medal in the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships at the Khalifa Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
Gomathi clocked a personal best time of 2 minutes 02.70 seconds in the half-mile event and won the country a surprise gold. As per media reports, Gomathi professionally took to running when she was 20 years old. After 10-long years of intense training, she finally managed to bag the gold and make India proud on the international platform.
Talking about Gomathi's background, media reports state that she used to work at the Income Tax department in Bengaluru under the sports quota. However, she didn't let employment rule over her running-spirit and she managed to find time in nurturing her talent even during her busy schedule.
Renowned cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle who said to have watched the athlete from Tiruchirappalli win gold in the 800m at the Asian Athletics hailed her for the brilliant feat and said that he was very proud of her.
Meanwhile, the other Indian athletes who made the country proud in the global platform includes names like Shivpal Singh, who bagged a silver in Javelin throw men's category by sending the spear to a distance of 86.23m, his personal best. In the process, the 23-year-old Shivpal also booked a berth for the World Championships to be held at the same venue in September-October as he crossed the qualifying mark of 83m.
Jabir Madari Palliyalil and Saritaben Gayakwad bagged a bronze each in men's and women's 400m hurdles respectively to swell the Indian medal tally.
With the four medals on Monday, India's medal tally stood at 1 gold, 3 silver and 5 bronze. India had won 2 silver and 3 bronze on the first day on Sunday.
Sprinter Dutee Chand also shared some of the limelight as she smashed her own national record in the 100m dash for the second time in two days.
The first Indian medal of the second day came from 24-year-old Gayakwad who clocked 57.22 seconds to finish third in women's 400m hurdles, behind Vietnam's Quach The Lan (56.10) and Bahrain's Aminat Yusuf Jamal (56.39).
His male counterpart Jabir then added a bronze by running the third fastest men's 400m hurdles by an Indian as he clocked a personal best of 49.13 seconds.
In the process, the 22-year-old Jabir joined national record holder Dharun Ayyasamy as the second Indian to qualify for the World Championships 400m hurdles event to be held at the same venue in September-October. The World Championships qualifying mark is 49.30 seconds.
Dharun, who set a new national record of 48.80 during the Federation Cup last month, missed this Asian Championships due to injury.
Pre-race favourite Abderrehman Samba of Qatar won gold with a world-leading time of 47.51 seconds.
In the women's 100m dash, Dutee bettered her own national record of 11.28 seconds set on Sunday during the heats by clocking 11.26 seconds while winning her semifinal race on Monday. She is, however, yet to touch the World Championships qualification mark of 11.24.
However, in the men's 400m, India suffered setbacks as defending champion Muhammed Anas and last edition silver winner Arokia Rajiv failed to win a medal.
Rajiv finished fourth with a personal best time of 45.37 seconds while Anas, who has been struggling after a leg injury in an accident last year, ended at eighth with a time of 46.10 seconds.
(With inputs from PTI)