Asian Games: Kartik Kumar, Gulveer Singh finish 2-3 in men’s 10,000m

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“When the sun shines make hay” goes the phrase. Indian sprinters Karthik Kumar and Gulveer Singh won silver and bronze respectively at the Hangzhou Asian Games on Saturday.

The team was snapping on the heels of the leader pack as the race turned heads on the final lap. A collision resulted in three runners, all of whom were in the leading pack.

Karthik and Gulveer seized the opportunity with both hands [or both feet, in this case!] They raced their way to the podium while clocking the best time of their lives. Karthik reduced his previous personal best by a stunning 40 seconds [28:15.38] Gulveer ran 37 seconds to take the silver [28:17.21] Taking home the bronze faster than his best. Bahrain’s Birhanu Yemata also took gold in 28:13.62.

The two medals take India’s medal tally from athletics to three Kiran Balian won bronze Friday women’s shot put. It was the first shot put medal by an Indian woman in 72 years.

Karthik, 24, shone in his first senior-level international competition. The national champion led the first five-odd laps of the race and held on to take the biggest win of his career. Karthik won bronze at the 2018 Asian U20 Championship.

Gulveer, fresh from a fifth-place finish at the 2023 Athletics Championships, timed his race well to capitalize on a late opportunity. The 25-year-old won gold at the 2023 Federation Cup in Ranchi and a silver at the inter-states in June.

Gulvir will return to action on October 4 in the men’s 5000m. He has finished on the podium in every 5000m race this year, winning bronze at the Asian Athletics Championships.

Earlier in the day, Aishwarya Mishra was fourth in the women’s 400m and Muhammad Ajmal was fifth in the men’s 400m. Both India’s long jumpers, Srishankar Murali and Jesswin Aldrin, also qualified for the finals. Sreesankar’s 7.97m was the second-best in the qualification round, while Jesswin’s 7.67m also earned her a place in the medal round.

Jyoti Yaraji and Nithya Ramraj reached the women’s 100m hurdles final, while Jinson Johnson and Ajay Kumar Saroj qualified for the men’s 1500m final. In the women’s heptathlon, Agsara Nandini was fourth after four events and defending champion Sapna Burman was sixth.

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