Arpinder ends 48-year wait, Swapna makes history

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Arpinder ends 48-year wait, Swapna makes history

Gold tally in athletics goes to five; Dutee dazzles with silver sprint double

Arpinder Singh was an allrounder of sorts as a young boy. He did the 100, 200, 400m and the long jump. He appeared to be a jack of all trades but a master of none.

That left his dad, an army man who was good at kabaddi, very frustrated. He wanted his son to excel in sports but young Arpinder was not outstanding in anything.

One day, in 2005, a coach advised him to try the triple jump. The youngster was not very sure what the event was but he was quick to pick up things.

On Wednesday, the 25-year-old Arpinder won the men’s triple jump gold at the Asian Games at the GBK Main Stadium here. And that ended 48-year wait for the prized medal last won by Mohinder Singh Gill in 1970 at the Bangkok Asiad.

Surprisingly, Arpinder did not even need to come anywhere close to his personal best (17.17m) for the gold with the best in the field, including China’s Asian champion Zhu Yaming, virtually melting away.

Arpinder’s best, 16.77m, came in the third jump and Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Kurbanov (16.62) and China’s Cao Shuo (16.56) took the silver and bronze.

Rare gold

West Bengal’s Swapna Barman brought a rare gold too, in women’s heptathlon, and it was the country’s first in the Asiad in the event, while Dutee Chand took the women’s 200m silver, to add to the 100m medal of the same colour she had won a couple of day ago.

India has won 11 golds at Jakarta so far and five of them have come from athletics. “My performance was not that great but gold is good. This is my best medal,” said Arpinder who won a bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“I was hoping to break the national record (Renjith Maheswary’s 17.30m) but I was very dehydrated because of the humid conditions here.”

The ONGC Officer had just three legal jumps tonight.

But Romanian Bedros Bedrosian, the national coach for jumps, felt that Arpinder would have risen to the occasion if the Chinese had done too.

Meanwhile, Swapna Barman has realised that sweets could turn sour too.

The 21-year-old from Jalpaiguri loves chocolates but she had too much of them a few days ago. And they started hurting her teeth and gums horribly.

“The toothache was unbearable yesterday and I even began to worry whether all the hard work I had put in would go waste.

“Then, I thought of all my effort and forgot the pain,” said Swapna after taking the historic gold with a personal best 6026 points in the seven-eventer.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Daily Report and is published from a The Hindu.)

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