By Sudipto Ganguly
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Bahrain claimed the gold medal in the mixed 4×400 metres relay in the event’s Asian Games debut as China continued their dominance in track and field on Tuesday.
The 4×400m mixed relay will make its global debut at the world championships in Doha next year before its Olympic bow in Tokyo in 2020.
Nigerian-born Abbas Abbas ran the last leg of the relay as Bahrain clocked 3 minutes 11.89 seconds, comfortably finishing ahead of second-placed India. Kazakhstan took the bronze.
Bahrain’s triumph gave Salwa Naser, who had won the women’s 400m in Jakarta, her second gold of the 18th Games.
“It means something great, something special. It is the first time we make national record, Asian record and I think world record too,” Abbas told reporters.
“We are the first team to win this event. We are two girls and two boys so it’s difficult. We are used to four boys.”
China won gold in four of the other six events on the fourth day of track and field. Xie Wenjun defended his 110m hurdles title with a season’s best 13.34 seconds, finishing ahead of Chen Kueiru of Taiwan and Japanese Shunya Takayama.
Women’s Asian record holder javelin thrower Lyu Huihui, who set the mark with 67.59m at the 2017 world championships in London, came to Jakarta as a favourite to win gold but she was pushed to silver by compatriot Liu Shiying.
It took Liu to post a Games record mark of 66.09 to claim the gold with Lyu managing 63.16.
“The (performance) in the first part was inconsistent… I can only say I did my best, but I didn’t expect to win,” Liu said. “This event is a practice (for Olympic).
“I will find the problem from this and use the next two years to correct them.”
Li Ling defended her pole vault title and she did it in style with a new Asian Games record of 4.40 metres.
There were more cheers on the night for the Chinese contingent as Wang Chunyu won the women’s 800m, her gold bringing up the 200th medal for the Asian giants.
India also enjoyed a good evening on the track as Manjit Singh and Jinson Johnson gave them the gold and silver in the 800m, the first time the country had a one-two finish in an athletics event in eight years.
(Additional reporting by Jessica Damiana; editing by Ed Osmond)