Birmingham: Indian athletes came to the fore in the absence of Olympic gold medallist javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra as Eldhose Paul and N. Abdulla Aboobacker finished 1-2 in the men’s triple jump while javelin thrower Annu Rani and race walker Sandeep Kumar bagged bronze medals in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games here on Sunday.
Paul produced a personal best effort of 17.03 metres and Aboobacker was a centimetre behind at 17.02 as they claimed the top two spots in Men’s Triple Jump at the Alexander Stadium here, claiming India’s first gold medal in this discipline of track and field in Commonwealth Games.
India could have swept the podium but Praveen Chithravel could manage only 16.28 in his final attempt whereas he needed a jump close to 17.00 to snatch the bronze medal from Jah-Nhai Perinchief of Bermuda, who eventually finished third with a best effort of 16.92 metres.
This is India’s first gold medal in athletics at Birmingham 2022 and sixth overall in the Commonwealth Games.
Paul won India’s first gold medal in the triple jump in the Commonwealth Games while the 1-2 finish took India’s total medals in the triple jump to six adding to the bronze and silver medals Mohinder Singh Gill won in 1970 and 1974 respectively, and bronze medals by Renjith Maheshwary (2010) and Arpinder Singh (2014).
Paul, who came into the event with a personal best of 16.99 this season while Aboobacker had a season best of 17.19 and Chithravel had a best of 17.18. But on /Sunday, Paul upstaged his two friends as he cleared 17.03 in his third attempt after two looseners in 14.62 and 16.30 in his first two tries. He jumped to 16.43 in his fourth try and then managed 16.43 and 16.11 in his final two jumps.
Aboobacker had a better start as he cleared 16.57 in the first and raised it to 16.62 and 16.72 in his net to attempts. He clinched the silver medal with a 17.02 m effort in the penultimate attempt.
In the women’s javelin throw, Annu Rani came up with the best distance of 60.00 to finish third behind reigning World Champion and Tokyo bronze medallist Kelsey-Lee Barbar of Australia who won the gold with an effort of 64.43 while Mackenzie Little (64.27).
Annu, who had three foul throws in her six tries, came up with the best effort of 60.00 in his fifth effort.
Sandeep was also in good form as he finished third in the men’s 10km race walk, surging to third behind Evan Dunfeen of Canada and Thigay to win the bronze medal. He clocked 38:49.21 to finish behind Evan Dunfee 38:36.37 while Declan Tingay timed 38:42.33.
India had earlier won silver medals through Priyanka Goswami, Avinash Sable and Murali Sreeshankar while Tejaswi Shankar bagged a bronze medal.