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Susanthika too fast for the rest

Busan: Susanthika Jayasinghe got off the blocks lazily, took a few metres to get her rhythm and then pretty much scythed the field to crown herself fastest woman of the 14th Asian Games Tuesday.

The clock stopped at 11.15 seconds which was a new Games record, better than Chinese Li Xumei’s 11.27. Susanthika later announced that she was winning the 200 gold too.

The men’s 100m threw up a surprise champion in Saudi Arabia’s Jamal Al Safaar. He produced a late spurt to overtake Japanese favourite Nobuharu Asahara. Al Safaar clocked 10.24, Asahara 10.29. Chinese Chen Haijian took the bronze at 10.34.

Saudi Arabia earlier celebrated another triumph when Hadi Somayli won the men’s 400 hurdles with a new Games record of 48.42. Qatari silver-medallist Sultan Mubarak Faraj’s (48.98) time was also better than previous record-holder Yoshihiko Saito’s 49.13.

Kazakhstan captured two golds as well — women’s 400 hurdles and men’s pole vault. Netalya Torshina (56.13) pipped Chinese Song Yingian (56.43) and Japanese Makiko Yoshida in a close finish for the 400 hurdles honours.

Pole vault produced a pulsating contest with Grigoriy Yegorov and Satoru Yasuda both clearing 5.40 metres. The Kazakh won because he cleared the height on his second attempt while the Japanese did so on his third. Fumiaki Kobayashi, another Japanese, was third with a best clearance of 5.20.

Veteran Koji Murofushi ‘hammered’ his own Games record to retain gold. His 78.72 metres was 15 cms better than his Bangkok effort. It was Japan’s only gold of the day. The rest of the field was way behind. The silver went to Hiroaki Doi (69.57), the bronze to Ye Kuigang (68.18).

On a day when ten gold medals were decided, none drew more attention than Susanthika. Asia’s premier world-class athlete was her cocky and candid self at the press conference.

How many golds will she win here' “Two for sure as I will take the 200m, maybe a third one in relay also,” she said with the confidence of a woman who owns an Olympic bronze and a world championship silver.

She admitted she has to improve on her start. “I have to get better in the first 20 metres, that’s always been a problem.” Does she have it in her to beat Marion Jones' “We don’t have the facilities like she has. If I had that infrastructure to work with, I would have been world champion by now,” she quipped.

Next year’s world championship is very much on her mind. “I have a silver and a bronze. Next time, I want gold. I don’t care whether Marion or Zhanna (Pintusevich) are running. If I do my things properly, I can win.” That’s Susanthika. As fast on the track as off it.

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