Some success, some heartbreak for Indian athletics in 2014
New Delhi: Moderate success in the Commonwealth and Asian Games was the only high point of a low-profile year in which Indian athletics also had to deal with the heartbreaking story of rising woman runner Dutee Chand being barred from competitions for having more male hormones than permissible.
The year also saw some respite from the doping menace, which had marred the Indian athletics scene in the last few years.
From topping the international body — IAAF — list in 2012 and many cases of doping violations last year, the scenario changed this year though the National Anti-Doping list show around a dozen athletes being sanctioned for testing positive for banned drugs this year as well.
On the field, Indian track and field athletes returned with just three medals in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July-August while they still managed to contribute the most to the country’s overall tally with a haul of 13 in the September-October Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
The Indians won just a gold, a silver and a bronze in the Glasgow CWG, a far cry from the 12 (2 gold, 3 silver, 7 bronze) in 2010 Delhi CWG. United States-based Vikas Gowda was the star Indian performer as he won the gold in men’s discus throw with an effort of 63.64m.
His woman counterpart Seema Punia, however, had to be content with a silver with an effort of 61.61m. She had won the bronze in the 2010 Delhi Games women’s discus throw.
Arpinder Singh went into the CWG with a big reputation after leaping to a national record 17.17m at the National Inter-State in Lucknow but returned with a bronze after a below-par effort of 16.63m.
In the Incheon Asian Games, the Indians won one more medal than the 12 they collected in the earlier edition in Guangzhou in 2010 but the gold count reduced from six to two.
Punia established herself as the top woman discus thrower in the country by winning the gold in Incheon with an effort of 61.03m.
Gowda, on the other hand, once again finished second behind his old nemesis and defending champion Ehsan Hadadi of Iran to settle for silver. The Indian has done better than the Iranian only once in 17 clashes he had in his career.
India continued their stranglehold in women’s 4x400m relay event in the Asian Games as the quartet of Priyanka Pawar, Tintu Luka, Mandeep Kaur and M R Poovamma ran a brilliant race in Games record time of 3:28.68. This was India’s fourth gold on the trot.