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Archana, Barman bag gold medals for India

 BHUBANESHWAR, July 9: Unheralded Archana Adhav gave India a surprise gold in 800m while heptathlete Swapna Barman added another yellow metal as India continued their dominance on the fourth and final day at the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships here today.

Jinson Johnson and Purnima Hembram also won a bronze each in the men’s 800m race and women’s heptathlon to swell India’s medal tally.

Pune girl Archana, who will turn 22 on July 14, bagged the gold in the half mile distance in her personal best time of 2 minutes and 2 seconds as she came from behind to finish first in front of a packed crowd at the Kalinga Stadium.

In the process, she ended the domination of compatriot and defending champion Tintu Luka in this distance.

With the win, Archana also qualified for the World Championships to be held in London next month.

National record holder Luka did not finish the race as she pulled out in the second lap. Her coach PT Usha said that Luka had fever and back pain but still ran the race.

Sri Lankans Nimali Waliwarsha Konda (2:05:23) and third-placed Gayanthika Thushari (2:05:27) took the silver and bronze respectively.

Till recently, Archana was competing at the junior level and she had won a bronze in 800m in Asian Junior Championship in 2014 and she also used to run in 4x400m relay race.

“I am happy to win this gold and I beat Tintu Luka. I was not sure whether I would win a gold today but I was prepared to be able to compete at this level. This is my first gold at the senior,” she said after her win.

Asked what strategy she had planned before the race, Archana said, “My coach told me I should preserve my energy so that I can pull it off towards the end,” she said.

“I will give my best at the World Championships.” – PTI

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