The 7th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships is held from February 19 to February 21 in the Aspire Dome, the venue which successfully hosted the IAAF World Indoor Championships in 2010 and the 3rd Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in 2008.

7th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships Expected to be a Memorable Sporting Event in Qatar

Day 3  

Mohamed Al-Garni of Qatar successfully defended his second title of the weekend to highlight the final day of the 7th Asian Indoor Championships at the Aspire Dome in Doha.

Five more championship records fell on the third day of competition, but it was Al-Garni’s in the 3000 metres, which propelled him to a second successive Asian indoor double-double triumph, that stood out from the rest.

Biding his time behind Bahraini Albert Rop for much of the race, Al-Garni took the lead for good as he entered the back straight for the final time. Unlike the early celebration in Saturday’s 1500 metres that likely cost Al-Garni the Asian record, this time his finish was more subdued: just a raised arm two strides before the finish as he powered through the line in 7:39.23 to equal the fifth fastest time of the year.

Rop finished just a few strides behind in 7:40.27 with Qatari Said Aden Said taking third with a personal best of 7:44.69 to collect his second bronze in as many days.

Balla Powers to 800m Gold

Qatar’s first gold of the afternoon came in a thrilling men’s 800 metres contest where Abdulrahman Musaeb Balla took the victory as expected.

It was a strong run for the two-time Asian champion who took command from the outset and was never headed en route to a 1:46.92 championships record.

Behind him an intense battle ensued.

Qatari teammates Abubaker Haydar Abdalla and Jamal Hairane shadowed Balla, trying to gain and hold position for a host nation sweep. But Mostafa Gholamerza Kordiyani of Iran wouldn’t relent. Heading into the the homestretch, first Hairane and then Kordiyani found another gear to overtake Abdalla to finish second and third in 1:48.05 and 1:48.26 respectively.

A similar scenario played out in the women’s race.

Marta Hirpato of Bahrain settled into the leading positions about 80 metres into the race, with Nimal Waliwarsha Arachchige of Sri Lanka and Japan’s Yume Kitamura giving chase. The order remained three-and-a-half laps later with Hirpato powering away to win in 2:04.59 to the Sri Lankan’s 2:04.88. Kitamura was later disqualified for a lane infraction elevating Tatyana Neroznak of Kazakhstan to bronze.

Almandeel Successfully Defends 60m Hurdles Title

Almandeel 7th Asian Indoor ChampionshipsAnother successful title defence came courtesy of Abdulazeez Almandeel of Kuwait who prevailed in 7.60 in the 60 metres hurdles. His time was his second national record and championships record in as many days and landed him among the season’s top-10.

His teammate Yaqoub Alyouha, who clocked 7.65, finished second with Zhang Hong Lin (7.73), also of China, in third.

In the women’s contest it took a photo reading to separate Kazakhstan’s hurdling Anastasiyas. The verdict went in favour of Anastasiya Soprunova over teammate Pilipenko by a scant two one-thousandths of a second as each were credited with 8.17.

The penultimate event, the women’s 4×400 metres relay, witnessed another Asian record courtesy of Bahrain. The Quartet –Alwa Eid Naser, Uwaseun Yusuf Jamal, Iman Essa Jasim and Oluwakemi Adekoya– clocked 3:35.07 to eclipse the mark set by an Indian quartet at these championships in 2008.

Qatar won the men’s event in 3:08.20, also a championships record, more than three seconds clear of runners-up Iran.

Elsewhere, Favourite Svetlana Radzivil won the women’s high jump at 1.92m, ahead of teammate Nadiya Dusanova (1.88m) to lead a 1-2 finish for Uzbekistan.

Akihiko Nakamura won the men’s heptathlon to capture Japan’s first gold of the championships, tallying 5831 points. China’s Hu Yufei (5745) was second with Marat Khaaydarov (5619) of Uzbekistan third.

Zhang Yaoguang of China won the long jump with 7.99m ahead of India’s Prem Kumar Kumaravel (7.92m) and Ming Tai Chan (7.85m) of Hong Kong.

Liu Yang, also from China, was the winner in the men’s shot put with a 19.30m toss.

Qatar topped the gold medal standings with six, followed by China with five, and Kazakhstan with four. China won 13 medals in all, followed by Qatar and Kazakhstan with 10 apiece.

The 8th edition of the Asian Indoor Championships will be hosted by Ranchi, India, in February 2018.

Day 2 

Another Asian record and six competition records fell on the second day of the 7th Asian Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, but it was local star Mohamed Al-Garni’s successful 1500m title defence that commanded the Aspire Dome spotlight.

Al Garni 7th Asian Indoor Championships Roundup
Mohamed Al-Garni

The 23-year-old exuded overwhelming confidence as he broke from a four-man pack 100 metres from the finish, pounding his chest and motioning to the crowd as he breezed down the homestraight. It was an early celebration that likely added some two seconds to his final time and kept him just 0.07 seconds shy of the Asian record.

He nonetheless clocked a 3:36.35 competition record, the third fastest performance in the world this season.

Al-Garni said that he isn’t certain about whether he’ll compete at next month’s world championships, choosing to focus instead on sharpening his tactics as the Olympic Games approach.

Benson Seurei of Bahrain, who did most of the early pacing, held off Qatari Said Aden Said’s late race charge to take silver, 3:37.08 to 3:37:29.

Adekoya and Haroun dominate over 400 metres

As expected, Oluwakemi Adekoya dominated the women’s 400 metres as the 23-year-old Bahraini notched her second Asian record in as many days.

Running in lane five, Adekoya made up the stagger on her chief rival Elina Mikhina to her outside just 100 metres into the race and forged on to win by more than two seconds. her 51.67 performance knocked another 0.01 from the continental record she set in qualifying yesterday.

Adekoya confirmed that she’ll be competing at the world indoor championships but that outdoors her focus would remain on the 400 metres hurdles.

The men’s contest went according to the playbook with local ace Abdelalelah Haroun taking an impressive victory in 45.88, another championships mark.

Abubaker Abbas of Bahrain took silver in 46.60, with Mikhail Litvin of Kazakhstan (46.80) third.

Middle Distance Double Triumph For Desalegn

Betlhem Desalegn became the championships’ first double winner after her resounding triumph in the 3000 metres.

The 24-year-old broke from Ruth Jebet of Bahrain and her United Arab Emirates teammate Alia Mohamed Saeed with 80 metres remaining en route to her 8:44.59 run, the fourth fastest time of the year.

Jebet clocked 8:47.24 to finish second with Saeed (8:48.62) taking bronze.

Huang Bokai Takes Pole Vault Title at 5.75m

  Huang Bokai

Following Li Ling’s lead from the opening night, Huang Bokai secured another pole vault title for China –and for their French coach Damien Inocencio– with a 5.75m championships record, yet another career best for the 19-year-old. Bokai secured the win after topping 5.70m on his second attempt before sailing clear at 5.75m with his first. He later bowed out with three tries at a would-be 5.82m national record.

Japanese Seito Yamomoto and Hiroki Ogita topped 5.60m and 5.50m respectively to finish second and third.

Likewise, both triple jump titles were claimed for Kazakhstan.

In the women’s event, Olympic champion Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan took gold as expected but with a modest 14.32m winning leap.

Johny Mayookha of India, the winner of the long jump, finished second with a 14.00m leap.

Roman Valiyev took top honours on the men’s side at 16.69m, comfortably ahead of India’s Renjith Maheswary (16.16m).

Elsewhere, Hu Yufei of China leads the men’s heptathlon after day one with 3226 points. Mohmmaed Jasem Alqaree of Saudi Arabia is second with 3193, ahead of Japan’s Takumi Otobe, who tallied 3072.

Uzbekistan’s Ekaterina Voronina was confirmed a the winner of Friday’s women’s pentathlon with 4224 points. Iran’s Sepideh Hossein (3828) and Japan’s Chie Kiriyama (3,637) finished second and third respectively.

A protest filed by Iranian officials, against India’s Swapna Barman for a lane infringement in the 800m, was upheld. Barman initially finished second behind Voronina.

Day 1

Al Garni 7th Asian Indoor Championships RoundupMutaz Barshim dominated the high jump competition with a 2.35m clearance and a pair of tantalizingly close attempts at 2.40m to highlight the opening day of the 7th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships as the Aspire Dome in Doha.

Entering the competition with an easy clearance at 2.24m, the reigning world indoor champion and Olympic bronze medallist needed two tries at both 2.31m and 2.35m before sailing clear. But he didn’t really come alive until the bar was raised to a would-be world-leading 2.40m. He came closest with his third attempt, just grazing the bar with his calves before falling back to earth.

Barshim confirmed that he won’t compete again until the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon, USA, in four weeks time.

Li Ling Improves Asian Pole Vault Record to 4.70m

Another of the evening’s standout performances came in the women’s pole vault where it was China’s Li Ling who dominated.

After winning the competition at 4.40m, she added first attempt clearances at 4.50m, 4.60m and 4.70m to add 19cm to her own Asian indoor record set in Xianlin one year ago. It was also an outright career best performance for the 26-year-old, who arrived in Doha with a 4.66m personal best, also set last year.

Tatian, Zybakina Take 60m Titles

There was a surprise in the men’s 60 metres, where Hassan Hossein Tatian pulled away from the field to prevail in 6.56, a championships record, to lead a 1-2 sweep for Iran.

“I am so excited I have never ran faster before,” said the 22-year-old who won the Asian junior 100 metres title in 2012. Here he improved his career best by 0.09 seconds, a important step, he said, towards his goal to reach the Olympic final later this year.

Teammate Reza Ali Ghasemi took silver in 6.66 with Eric Shauwn Cray (6.70) of The Philippines finishing third. Disappointment struck host Qatar in the semi-finals when three-time champion Samuel Francis and teammate Tosin Ogunode, both medal favourites, exited the competition with false start disqualifications.

In the women’s race Viktoriya Zyabkina of Kazakhstan overcame a sluggish start to win handily in 7.27, well clear of China’s Yuan Qiqi (7.33).

Mayookha Johny controlled the long jump competition from the outset, with a 6.35m leap, an effort that propelled her to India’s first Asian indoor title in the event. Bui Thi Thu Thao of Vietnam took silver with a 6.30m best, with Olga Rypakova finishing third for Kazakhstan. Rypakova returns to action on Saturday in her main event, the triple jump.

Elsewhere, Betlhem Desa Betlhem of United Arab Emirates blew by Tigist Gashaw Belay with 100 metres to go to prevail in a tactical 1500m contest, besting the Bahraini by more than half a second in 4:21.65 to claim the first medal ever at these championships for the UAE.

Geng Shuang led a 1-2 finish for China in the women’s shot put with an 18.06m effort, more than half a metre better than Guo Tianqian.

The morning’s opening round action included an Asian 400m record by Oluwakemi Adekoya of Bahrain. In a solo effort, the 23-year-old clocked 51.68 to break the previous mark of 52.27 set by Yajun Li of China in 1996.