The cheers went from loud to louder for the Indian athletes at the 18th Asian Games on Monday as Neeraj Chopra’s gold-winning feat in the Men’s Javelin throw was the icing on the cake after Sudha Singh, Neena Varakil and Dharun Ayyasamy clinched silver medals in their respective events.
After an impressive show on Sunday when Hima Das, Dutee Chand and Muhammed Anas bagged silver medals, the athletes continued the rush to bag medals as four medals were clinched in all.
Neeraj Chopra, India’s flag bearer at the 18th edition of the continental games, performed to potential and won the gold with a throw of 88.06m — personal best as well as the new national record. The 20-year-old had earlier won gold at the Commonwealth Games with a throw of 86.47m.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated Chopra on Twitter after the athlete won India’s 8th gold at the event. “When @Neeraj_chopra1 is on the field, expect the very best from him. This youngster makes India happier by winning a Gold in the Men’s Javelin Throw Final. We also congratulate him for setting a new national record. #AsianGames2018,” the tweet read.
Chopra wasn’t alone in bringing glory for India as Neena Varakil, Dharun Ayyasamy and Sudha Singh also got their hands on medals. Sudha Singh won silver in women’s 3000m steeplechase with a timing of 9:40.03s. The 32-year-old Sudha had won a gold medal when women’s 3000m steeplechase was introduced at the Asian Games in 2010.
Chinta, another Indian athlete competing in the event finished a disappointing 11th in the final. Another silver went into India’s kitty when Neena Varakil finished second with a jump of 6.51m in the women’s long jump. The 28-year-old from Perambra, Kerala, had finished 10th in Gold Coast earlier this year. Nayana James though failed to make any impression in the event.
Dharun Ayyasamy added to the tally with a silver in men’s 400m hurdles. The 21-year-old who had won in the same event at the South Asian championships in 2016 won the medal with a personal best timing of 48.96 seconds.
Ayyasamy hopes that his Asian Games silver medal in 400m hurdles will be enough to get him a job so that he can support his stoic mother, who raised him single-handedly after the death of his father. “My father passed away when I was eight years old. My mother has made a lot of sacrifices for me. I owe her this. She is still earning just Rs 14,000 per month as a teacher,” said the 21-year-old from Tirupur in Tamil Nadu.