It happens every year as we celebrate Indian Arrival Day. I get phone calls and emails, and it comes up in conversation with friends, colleagues and family.
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Walcott lands Beijing javelin gold
T&T Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott turned the tables on his rivals when he topped an 11-man field to win gold in the men’s javelin at the IAAF World Challenge held at the 2008 Olympic Bird Nest, Beijing, China, yesterday.
In a relatively subdued final, Walcott, the 2012 IAAF World Junior champion, took the event with a distance of 83.94 metres—the third-best mark of his life behind his 2012 London Olympic Games winning effort of 84.58 and an 84.39 effort on home soil last year.
Second was Russian Valeriy Lordan with a distance of 82.05 while third placed Czech Republic, Petr Frydrych had a distance of 80.30, the only other distance beyond 80 metres.
Egypt’s Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed, days after his 89.21m stunner in the men’s javelin in Shanghai, limped off the runway this time with a knee injury and a best of 74.03m in four injury-hampered attempts.
On Friday last, at the Shanhgai Golen Grand Prix, El Sayed finished ahead of Sweden’s Kim Amb (84.14) and Czech Republic’s Vitezslav Vesely (83.80) followed by Kenyan Julius Yego (83.00), Russia’s Dmitri Tarabin (82.66), Finnish athlete Tero Pitkamaki (81.38) and Walcott, who was the seventh athlete over the 80 metres mark, with 81.09 from a field of 12.
The 21-year-old Walcott’s effort of 83.94 now ranks as the fifth best of 2014 behind El Sayed; Japan’s Ryohei Arai’s 85.48l Amb (84.14) and American Tim Glover’s 84.01 metres.
The other T&T athlete to compete in China, Mikel Thomas failed to get among the medals after he placed seventh in the men’s 110m hurdles in 15.19 seconds.
The winner of the event was China’s Wenjun Xie who made it a Shanghai-Beijing double in 13.31 followed by American duo, Ryan Wilson (13.37) and Kevin Craddock (13.56).
Overall, the one-day event produced three world leads, but just as importantly, a big night for China and Beijing, showing that it retains the ability to stage a major championships and its athletes have the talent to compete well at global level.
After his 9.92 in Shanghai, USA’s Justin Gatlin made it two wins, two world leads from two starts in China with a 9.87 in the Birds Nest.
Again he gave fast starters Michael Rodgers and Kim Collins no chance, blunting their biggest weapon with a fast getaway of his own. In front at the half-way point, Gatlin exploded away impressively in the second half to beat Rodgers (10.03) by a metre and a half with Collins almost another metre back in 10.11.
Impressively, Chinese record-holder Zheng Peimeng (10.18) and Su Bingtian (10.19) were the next two across the line, showing they can mix it in this company.
Gatlin had one win over Usain Bolt last year, at the Rome IAAF Diamond League meeting, and was asked whether he was sending a message with his impressive early-season form.
Not particularly, said Gatlin, but he added: “I think he knows I’m one of his toughest rivals in terms of being mentally strong. But I’m trying to focus on my own running. My aim is to be a better athlete each year.”
Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown may be working hard on her technique, but that trademark scuttling style is still unmistakable. She was in control of the women’s 100m from early in the race and then defied the efforts of 200m winner Simone Facey to run her down over the final metres.
Campbell-Brown won in a season’s best 11.14 from Facey’s 11.19 and another Jamaican, Trisha-Ann Hawthorne (11.23).
This after Facey had earlier won the 200m in 22.67, followed by 100m fourth placed finisher Aleen Bailey (23.11) and China’s Yongli Wei (23.25) in a race in which Tiffany Townsend broke down with a leg injury half-way along the straight.