Jinson Johnson and the women's 4×400 relay team won gold at their respective events at the 18th Asian Games on Thursday, when Indian athletes recorded their best record in continental extravaganza since the inaugural edition in 1951. The 4×400-meter men's team He joined the joy in the Indian camp by riveting the silver. India now has a tally of 7 gold, 10 silver and 2 bronze athletics medals in Asiad this year. The best performance in the history of India in Asian Games athletics came in the inaugural edition of 1951, when they organized the event in New Delhi. That year, Indian athletes obtained 10 gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze. Indian athletes had also won seven gold medals in the 2002 edition, but had only won a total of 17 medals, two fewer than this year. Johnson clocked 3 minutes and 44.72 seconds to take the yellow medal in the 1,500 meter men's event. The Iranian Amir Moradi took the silver medal with the best time of his season with a time of 3: 45.62, while Bahrain Mohammed Tiouali settled for the bronze with a time of 3: 45.88. Manjit Singh, the other Indian in the fray, finished fourth with 3: 46.57. (MEDAL TALLY)
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Johnson was among the first runners from the start, while Tiouali took the early lead. However, Johnson moved towards the end and the Bahrain athlete could not match the explosive speed of the Indian. Manjit ran a more tactical race. He had positioned himself near the back of the group and tried to produce his explosive trademark burst on the last lap. But with the runners grouped in the back and in the middle of the group, it was difficult to create a space that finally cost him a medal.
In the women's event of 4X400m, the Hima Das Indian Quartet, Raju Poovamma, Saritaben Laxmanbhai Gayakwad and Vismaya Koroth recorded a time of 3: 28.72 to finish at the top of the podium. Bahrain won the silver with 3: 30.61 while the Vietnamese quartet clocked the best time of its season of 3: 33.23 to take the bronze medal.
The Indians had a great start since Hima gave them the initial advantage. The teenager from Assam was a bit slow in the blocks, but produced an excellent kick in the final corner to leave the other runners behind. The other Indian runners built the lead and assured that what turned out to be a comfortable victory in the end.
In the men's 4X400m relay, the Indian quartet of Muhammed Kunhu, Dharun Ayyasamy, Muhammed Anas and Rajiv Arokia clocked a time of 3: 1.85 to finish in second place. Qatar created a new Asian record of 3: 00.56 to win the gold, while Japan finished the race in 3: 01.94 and bagged the bronze medal. With a totally African lineup, Qatar dominated the race from start to finish. The Indians were in fourth position during the initial stages, but they recovered excellently to take second place and reach the final lap.
In the female record, Seema Punia had to settle for the bronze medal. Seema registered a 62.26 meter throw to secure a spot on the podium. China achieved the first two positions with Chen Yang (65.12m) and Feng Bin (64.25m) obtaining gold and silver, respectively.