Bahrain’s Salwa Naser increased to four her gold medal total on the final day of the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha.
Naser, the 2017 world 400m silver medallist, ran a spectacular anchor leg in the 4x400m relay, the penultimate event of the Championships in Khalifa Stadium which in five months’ time will host the International Association of Athletics Federations’ World Championships.
A distant fourth when she took the baton, Naser faced a deficit of some 20 metres as she went into the first bend, the IAAF reported.
But she moved gradually into contention before taking the lead in the home straight in passing India’s Vismaya Velluva Koroth in a superb split time of 49.70sec.
That performance came two hours after she had earned gold in the women’s 200m to go with the ones she had earned on previous days in the 400m and 4x400m mixed relay, along with her bronze from the 4x100m.
Naser had won her 200m final in 22.74sec after overhauling 100m winner Olga Safronova in the middle of the final straight.
Her time improved by 0.10 the Championship record of 22.84 she had equalled the day before.
To widespread media disappointment, Naser rushed through the mixed zone without stopping to speak.
In the 4x400m relay, Bahrain had clocked 3min 32.10sec, beating India by 0.11 with Japan taking the bronze.
The Sri Lankan quartet, running with black armbands to honour those who were killed in the bombings in the country on Easter Sunday, paid their respects with a fourth-place finish in 3:35.06, a national record.
The best performance on the infield came courtesy of a 2.31m clearance by Syria’s world bronze medallist Majd Eddin Ghazal in the high jump to earn the first major gold of his career.
Japan claimed gold in the men’s long jump and 4x400m relay and women’s 100m hurdles.
Yuki Hashioka, IAAF world under-20 champion in the long jump last year, added a senior continental gold just nine months later.
Hashioka led early on with an 8.08m leap in the second round, just one centimetre shy of his personal best, but China’s Zhang Yoaguang reached 8.13m in the fifth to take command.
Hashioka rallied with a final winning effort of 8.22m.
Japan closed the competition with a decisive victory in the men’s 4x400m relay, clocking 3:02.94 ahead of India. The latter were later disqualified for a lane infraction, elevating China, who clocked 3:03.55, to second.
Abderrahman Samba, running the anchor leg for Qatar, produced the fastest leg of the race, 44.54 in crossing the line fourth, although the hosts were later upgraded to bronze.
Japan also took the day’s first title on the track with Ayako Kimura’s decisive 13.13 win in the 100m hurdles.
But China maintained its table lead with three more golds, upping the final title tally to nine.
Feng Bin, a 2016 Olympic and 2017 world finalist, put the women’s discus competition out of reach in the first round with a 65.36m effort, adding 22 centimetres to her previous best set in 2016.
Xie Wenjun added a second Asian 110m hurdles title to his collection with a 13.21 run and Xie Zhenye pulled away with 80 metres remaining to take the 200m, clocking 20.33.
For the second time in as many days, India put a stop to Bahrain’s bid for middle and long-distance dominance.
Yesterday it was Gomathi Marimuthu in the women’s 800m and today it was Palakeezh Unnikrishnan (P.U.) Chitra, who successfully defended her title in the women’s 1500m as she held off Bahraini Winfred Mutile Yavi,,who was chasing a third title.
But Bahrain did collect wins in the men’s 1500m and 5000m to take four of the five middle and long distance titles on offer on the men’s side.
Olympic champion Dilshod Nazarov of Tajikistan won the hammer throw, but he did not secure it until reaching 76.14m in round five.
The 2021 Asian Championships will take place in Hangzhou, China.