Doha, 11/05/2015 – Four days of pure thrilling and unforgettable athletics climaxed on Monday 11 May as the 1st Asian Youth Athletics Championships concluded with a grand finale at the Qatar Sports Club, with China’s Ding Shuo tying the 2015 world lead with 2.15 in a spectacular High Jump final.
Overall, a total of 16 countries won a gold medal, while 27 saw at least one of their athletes stepping on the podium. China topped the rankings snatching 15 gold, 11 silver and 5 bronze medals.
The High Jump final was nothing short of epic. Four athletes, Ding Shuo (China), Roshan Dammika Ranatungage (Sri Lanka), Hussein Falah Hasan Al-Ibraheemi (Iraq) and Tejaswin Shanker (India), all cleared 2.12, a world-class mark and a measure that would have qualified for the World Youth Championships final two years ago in Donetsk. When the bar was raised to the 2.15 mark though, all but Shuo failed, with Ranatungage going the closest to clearing with some very close jumps.
In the Discus Throw, Iran’s Sajjad Hassan Zare fell far from his true potential, but his effort was adequate enough to award him gold. The 17-year-old from the city of Masha threw 53.06, well behind his 57.86 personal best, but he was a class of his own nonetheless. Ehsan Haddadi, the 2012 Olympic Games silver medalist and 2011 World Championships bronze medalist is held as an inspiration by Zare and is a role model for many young Iranians, who aim to imitate his heroics.
“It’s been only three years since I started training. I have met Haddadi once. He came to see me training and advised me to improve my technique and work on my speed, to become a champion like him,” said Zare, who had never competed outside Iran before.
“I have already qualified for the World Youth Championships in Cali. I know I can better my record and fight for gold in Colombia. I dream of seeing myself winning the Olympic gold medal one day.”
China’s Zhang Jun captured the last day’s first medal in the morning session with a clear victory in the 10K Walk (44:00.87). As soon as the evening session commenced, Huang Jiaxin added more silverware to the Chinese medal collection with a comfortable win in the 200m, clocking 24.67.
The winner of the Girls’ 100m, Poon Hang Wai of Hong Kong, may have finished in disappointing sixth place in the 200m, but the boys’ 100m dash winner was more prolific than his female counterpart. Yu Sen Shen doubled his gold medals at the 1st Asian Youth Championships with a well-deserved 200m victory. The slender sprinter from Taipei kept among the leaders over the bend and powered past everyone on the home straight, to finish in 21.69.
Sri Lanka’s Yamani Dulanjalee Mudiyanselage and Kazakhstan’s Mariya Ovchinikova saved the best for last, offering their respective countries their first gold medals at the Championships. The former won in the 400m Hurdles in 1:01.27 and the latter leaped 12.81 in the Triple Jump, the sixth best performance in the world this year. Just a few moments later, Kazakhstan prevailed in another discipline, the Girl’s Pole Vault, with Anna Danilovskaya sailing over 3.70.
The national anthem of Thailand was also played for the first time today, following Witthawat Thumcha’s hard-fought 400m Hurdles victory in 52.45. Sri Lanka nearly doubled their gold medals in the hurdles but Darshana M S U Kuamrabatagallalage had to settle with a close second place in 52.88.
Elsewhere, China’s Zhou Jungjing scored 5000 points in the Heptathlon to claim gold and Bahrain’s Dalila Abdulkadir Gosa made it look easy as he ran to a 1500m victory finishing in 4:19.95, the fifth best time in the world for 2015. China won both Medley Relays, the Boys finishing in 1:53.34 and the Girls in 2:13.32.