Asian Games 2018: 5 consecutive gold medals by girls

The Asian Games 2018 finally ended on 2 September. The multi-sport event brought a lot of cheer to us Indians especially. Of course, there were some heartbreaking moments as well. Traditional fortes like hockey and kabaddi turned out to be major disappointments. However, respite came in the form of medals from some unexpected quarters.

India did give its best performance till date in the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games 2018. It was also the best athletics performance since 1978. In fact, Indian women brought home the fifth consecutive Asiad gold in 4x400m relay and made us very proud.

Winning Team Members:

Hima Das, Saritaben Gayakwad, Vismaya Koroth, and Poovamma Machettira

gold medal relay asian games 2018 kreedOn
The golden girls of relay celebrating their stunning victory at the Asian Games 2018 as can be seen

Stunning Victory at the Asian Games 2018

Hima began the race with a good lead and all other team members maintained the momentum. The girls clocked the time of 3:28.72 minutes. They narrowly missed out the games record of 3:28.68 minutes. Bahrain came second with a timing of 3:30.61 minutes. However, the difference of almost two seconds was quite considerable. Consequently, the team members Aminat Jamal, Iman Essa, Edidiong Odiong and Salwa Naser had to settle for a silver medal. Vietnam girls, Thi Oanh Nguyen, Thi Hang Nguyen, Thi Ngoc Hoang, and Thi Lan Quach, came third by clocking 3:33.23 minutes.

The strategy was to let the two experienced runners begin it. We just wanted to beat Bahrain. That was the goal today,” Poovamma told The Indian Express in an interview.

Glorious Past

Indian women have been dominating the relay event since 2002. The team of Jincy Phillip, Manjeet Kaur, Soma Biswas and KM Beenamol that set the precedent at the Busan Asiad. Since then, returning with the gold is a must for the 4x400m relay team.

4x400m Relay

It is also known as the long relay. Four runners cover a distance of 400 meters each while carrying a relay baton. Each member has to transfer the baton to the subsequent member. The last runner of each team is called an anchor. The team whose anchor reaches the finish line first wins. A relay is traditionally scheduled as the concluding event of an athletics meet.

While Poovamma is an experienced relay player, and Hima has become a sprinting sensation. Saritaben and Vismaya are not as known as the other two. These champions deserve recognition as well as support to continue such achievements. Hence, we decided to glimpse into their lives and bring some interesting facts about them. President Kovind also appreciated the girls.

 

Hima Das

Hima Das asian games 2018
Jakarta: Indian athlete Hima Das celebrates after securing a silver medal in the women’s 400m final on Athletics track event at the 18th Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia on Sunday, Aug 26, 2018. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan) (PTI8_26_2018_000177B)

Quick Facts

  • Date of Birth: 9 January 2000
  • Place of Birth: Dhing, Nagaon, Assam, India
  • Parents: Jonali Das and Ronjit Das
  • Height: 156 cm
  • Weight: 52 kg
  • Event: 100m – 400m
  • Coach: Nipon Das, Nabajit Malakar, Galina Bukharina

Interesting Facts

  • Hima is lovingly called as Dhing Express by her friends and family.
  • Initially, Hima was interested in football. However, she opted for sprint running at the advice of her school teacher.
  • Hima Das is the brand ambassador of Assam.

Claim to Fame

She became the first Indian sprint runner to win gold at an international competition in 2018. She brought home the gold in the 400 meters event at the U-20 World Championships. The achievement instantly made her sensation in the country. She followed it up with a medal haul of two silvers and one gold at the Asian games 2018.

Achievements

Asian Games

Year Place Event Medal
2018 Jakarta, Indonesia Women’s 4×400 m Gold
2018 Jakarta, Indonesia Mixed 4×400 m Silver
2018 Jakarta, Indonesia 400 m Silver

World U20 Championships

Year Place Event Medal
2018 Tampere, Finland 400 m Gold

 

Saritaben Gayakwad

Saritaben Gayakwad relay asian games kreedon
Saritaben Gayakwad is certainly very happy after her stunning victory

Quick Facts

  • Date of Birth: 1 June 1994
  • Place of Birth: Kharadi Amba, Dang, India
  • Parents: Laxmanbhai and Ramuben Gayakwad
  • Height: 168 cm
  • Weight: 58 kg
  • Event: 400 meters
  • Coach: KS Ajimon

Interesting Facts

  • She comes from a tribal family in Gujarat.
  • Her parents are daily wage laborers and hence could not finance her training. She had run barefoot sometimes, as sports shoes were very expensive.
  • Earlier, she was a national-level kho kho player. But then she made the switch to sprinting in the year 2010.
  • Sarita started training at the Center of Excellence Academy in Nadiad, Gujarat.
  • Her friends and family members fondly call her Dang Express.
  • Currently, Sarita works as an income tax officer.
  • Gujarat government declared a cash prize of 1 crore after her Asiad feat.

When I was a young girl, I used to watch DD sports channel at my uncle’s place. I was inspired by women players like Sania Mirza and others; I wanted to be like them, I wanted to wear India’s T-shirt and make my country proud,” Sarita told SBS Gujarati in an interview.

Claim to Fame

The gold medal in 4×400 m women’s relay instantly brought recognition to her. She was also a part of the Commonwealth Games 2018 relay team.

In our family, income was low and we had to educate four children. Despite the hardships, we tried our best and now my children have made us proud,” her father told Mid-day.

Achievements

Year Place Event Medal
2018 Jakarta, Indonesia Women’s 4×400 m Gold

 

Vismaya Koroth

Vismaya Koroth athlete relay kreedon
An unexpected champion – Vismaya Koroth is truly ecstatic after the victory

Quick Facts

  • Date of Birth: 14 May 1997
  • Place of Birth: Sreekandapuram, Kerala, India
  • Parents:
  • Height: 169 cm
  • Weight: 58 kg
  • Event: 400 meters
  • Coach: Raju Paul, Galina Bukharina

Interesting Facts

  • Surprisingly, Vismaya has not participated in any major senior tournament like the Nationals, Federation Cup, or any Interstate meets.
  • However, her performance peaked tremendously after training under coach Bukharina in Patiala.
  • Vismaya was planning to opt for engineering but changed her mind after her teachers encouraged her to take up sports.
  • She is a student of Assumption College in Kerala. The sports culture there, in addition to the support of her physical education faculty, enabled her to excel in her field.
  • Usain Bolt is her biggest inspiration.

Claim to Fame

The Jakarta Palembang Asian Games 2018 were Vismaya’s first senior-level competition. On top of that, she was included in the team at the last moment. However, she took all these factors in her stride and gave her all in the final lap. She was made the anchor of the team few hours before the game. It was a truly special moment for the young girl to run towards the finish line first and bring home fifth consecutive medal in the relay. The strategy was appreciated by fans as well as by the experts.

Achievements

Year Place Event Medal
2018 Jakarta, Indonesia Women’s 4×400 m Gold

 

Poovamma Machettira

Poovamma Machettira asian games kreedon
Poovamma Machettira was the most experienced member of the relay team

Quick Facts

  • Date of Birth: 5 June 1990
  • Place of Birth: Gonikoppal, Karnataka, India
  • Parents: M. G. Raju and Jaji
  • Height: 173 cm
  • Weight: 60 kg
  • Event: 200–800 meters
  • Coach: Nagapuri Ramesh

Interesting Facts

  • Poovamma has a bachelor’s degree from the Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara College of Business Management.
  • She was bestowed with the Arjuna Award in 2015.
  • Currently, she is working for the ONGC on sports quota.
  • Poovamma is also sponsored by the GoSports Foundation.
  • Jamaican sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross is her inspiration.
  • Her mother is her lucky charm according to her. In an interview with Scroll, she said, “Since 2005, I can’t recall a single domestic meet that she has missed. They (parents) are old but they do their utmost best to motivate me.”

Claim to Fame

Poovamma was the most experienced member of the women’s relay team at the Asian Games 2018. Moreover, she already has a team gold from the 2014 Incheon Games. She added another one at the Jakarta edition. She also won an individual bronze medal in 2014 Asiads. Poovamma was also a part of the Indian contingent at the 2016 Olympics.

Achievements

Asian Games

Year Place Event Medal
2014 Incheon, South Korea Women’s 4×400 m Gold
2014 Incheon, South Korea 400 m Bronze
2018 Jakarta, Indonesia Women’s 4×400 m Gold
2018 Jakarta, Indonesia Mixed 4×400 m Silver

Asian Championships

Year Place Event Medal
2013 Pune, India Women’s 4×400 m Gold
2013 Pune, India 400 m Silver
2015 Wuhan, China 400 m Silver
2015 Wuhan, China Women’s 4×400 m Silver
2017 Bhubaneshwar, India Women’s 4×400 m Gold

Surprisingly, all girls belong to different parts of the country. However, the sport has the power to bridge all differences and unify everyone. This spirit of unity and cooperation among fellow players is what matters in team events at last. There are times when you have to compete with your own fellow compatriot and others when you have worked together to shatter the opposing team.

Indeed, this spirit and unity are unparalleled. Perhaps, that is exactly why sports are so popular. They celebrate something so special!

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