Manpreet Kaur, Laxmanan win gold

BHUBANESWAR, 6th July: India’s Manpreet Kaur claimed the gold medal in the women’s shot put, while defending champion Vikas Gowda failed to retain his title in the men’s discus throw event on the opening day of the Asian Athletics Championships at the Kalinga Stadium on Thursday. Manpreet, who won gold with a throw of 18.28 metres, will now focus on the IAAF World Championships in London next month. She had booked her ticket for the Worlds in April, during the Asian Grand Prix in China, with a throw of 18.86m.

The thrower from Punjab said that the gold-winning performance at the Asian meet was a big bonus and a confident boost. “I was confident of winning the title on home soil and was mentally prepared to cross the 18m mark,” said a beaming Manpreet. There was bit of pressure but I settled down as the event progressed.”

The overall performance, a big morale booster, will help her at the Worlds. “My performance today will help me mentally gear up to face stiff challenge in the global competition,” she added.

Following Manpreet’s gold, Laxmanan emerged triumphant in the men’s 5,000 metres. He had to struggle hard for his gold medal after he was trailing the leading four runners towards the end of the second last lap but produced a stunning sprint finish over the final 300 metres to win by a handsome margin.

In the last edition at Wuhan in 2015, Laxmanan had won bronze. The experienced Vikas Gowda took bronze in the men's discuss to boost the Indian tally.

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