Saturday 17 February 2018
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Olympic champion Dilshod Nazarov ready to shake the throwing arena

Bhubaneswar – 5 July 2017:  Tajikistan’s Rio Olympics champion Dilshod Nazarov is the top in the hammer throwing business and incidentally the top draw among all participants who are going to assemble in the Kalinga Stadium from the entire Asian continent on 6th July onwards.  

Having achieved a remarkable ‘hat-trick’ in the Asian Games of 2006, 2010 and 2014, Nazarov will try to emulate similar act in the Asian championships at Bhubaneswar.  Ofcourse Dilshod already had three gold medals in the biennial Asian meet through 2015, 2013 and 2009.  Having missed the 2011 edition at Kobe the ‘ball and chain’ specialist from the Central Asian republic also collected two silver and a bronze medal from the earlier editions of the continental championships.  Iran’s Reza Mohghaddam and Korean Lee Yun-Chul with identical personal bests of 73.50m registered this season will fight each other for the silver position.  China’s Incheon Asiad silver medalist Wang Shizhu (72.20) and Ryota Kashimura of Japan (71.36) may throw a surprise in between.  

China fields the top two from Wuhan – Liu Tingting and Luo Na – to repeat their success in Bhubaneswar in hammer throw.  Japan’s Akane Watanabe (65.21m), the bronze medalist at the last edition held in 2015, coming here to complete the entire Wuhan podium presence at Kalinga Stadium.  India’s Sarita Singh, who recently set a national record 65.25m to win the Federation Cup at Patiala, tackle the trio to add a medal for the hosts.

The line-up in men’s javelin throw includes World Junior Champion and record-holder Neeraj Chopra from India.   Taiwan’s Cheng Chao-Tsun set a new national mark of 86.92m while winning the Asian Grand Prix at Jiaxing.  Ahmed Bader Magour also recently logged a NR for Qatar with 85.23m in Paavo Nurmi Games at Turku, Finland.  Neeraj had his first taste of a Diamond League meeting at Paris in the beginning of this month.  The trio along with a battery of three other 80+ throwers assured a keen contest on the appointed day at Bhubaneswar.  

India’s Annu Rani, who last month attained the World championship qualification, clash with Chinese thrower Li Lingwei for the podium finish in women’s javelin throw.  Lingwei and Rani were the silver and bronze medalists in the last Asian Games at Incheon three years ago.  

Double Asian champion Vikas Gowda is going for his third straight victory in discus throw.  The former World and Olympic finalist had some fitness issue while competed in Rio Olympic Games last year.  After passing through a fitness test in the Odisha capital a couple of days ago Gowda is confident of delivering his best this time around.  However it will be not an easy task either.  Malaysian Mohd Irfan Shamsuddin (62.55m) and Kuwait’s Essa Mohd Al-Zankawi (62.22m) besides two time Asian silver medalist Mohammad Samimi of Iran will be there to challenge him at any level.  Gowda, having a personal best 66.28m from 2012, throw only 62.35m this season.

After the indomitable dominance of Indian women diminished in discus throw the Chinese took the centre stage.  Here again their might presence will be felt through Rio Olympic finalist Chen Yang (62.90m) and Wuhan bronze medalist Lu Xiaoxin (61.17m).   Seema Antil is the reigning Asian Games champion.  But her current form is highly questionable after a paltry 53.86m silver medal finish in Patiala last month.  Thailand’s Subenrat Insaeng, who barely missed the Wuhan podium, is another athlete to make the contest interesting.      

Saudi Arabia’s Asian record-holder Sultan Abdulmajeed Al-Hebshi, Asian season-leader Tejinder Pal Singh and Kazakhstan’s Ivan Ivanov will make the going strong in men’s shot put.  Indian Manpreet Kaur delivered the best among the athletes entered in women’s shot put.  Her 18.86m national record registered during the Jinhua leg of Asian Grand Prix this year.  However her consistency in delivering the top mark is bewildering.  Chances are bright for two Chinese girls, defending champion Guo Tianqian and bronze medalist Bian Ka, as well as Bahrain’s Asian Indoor bronze medalist Noora Salem Jassem.

by Ram. Murali Krishnan for LOC/AAA