Bhubaneswar: July 10: India again proudly hosted the prestigious Asian Athletics Championship, which came to end yesterday here at Kalinga Stadium. AFI had already hosted two ‘Asian Athletic Championship’ in 1983 at Delhi and in 2014 at Pune. So, the third Indian City to host this great Championship is Bhubaneswar. It was a rare experience for the people of Odisha and most of the people enjoyed the sporting event either sitting inside the Stadium or sitting in front of the Television set at home. This great event will certainly be in memory for each Indian, because, India has scripted its history with 12 Gold, 5 Silver and 12 Bronze Medals. India’s earlier best medal tally was in 1985 Jakarta edition where they had won 22 medals (10 Gold, 5 Silver and 7 Bronze).
But, here at Bhubaneswar, all eyes were on Odisha athletes, which could not be achieved as expected. Sprinters Dutee Chand, Srabani Nanda, Amiya Mallick, Jauna Murmu, Purnima Hmebram all performed in front of their cheering home supporters. Dutee secured a bronze in women’s 100 m event with a timing of 11. 52 sec and also won another bronze along with her teammates in the women’s 100m relay event. But, she could not secure a berth to the world championships in London next month. Srabani Nanda won a third bronze with Dutee in the 4×100 m sprint. But, Amiya Mallick failed in both of his prime events. Purnima Hembram, another athlete from Odisha performed well in hepthalon and got the bronze while Jauna Murmu failed to win any medal for the country.
Despite the setback of Odisha athletes, the Sunday crowd at Kalinga Stadium were enjoying the each event with much anxiety as India kept winning Medals one after another.
However, the crowd felt bad as India suffered a huge setback when India’s 800 metre runner Archana got disqualified after being initially declared Gold Medal Winner, for pushing Sri Lankan rival Nimali Waliwarsha Konda from behind near the finishing line.