A world record throw from India and a clean sweep from Sri Lanka upstaged powerhouses China and Uzbekistan on the first morning (8 October) of the Para athletics competition at the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games.
India’s Sandeep Sandeep set the tone for a stunning session when he claimed gold in the men’s javelin F42-44/F61-64 with an F44 world record* throw of 60.01m.
“For the Asian Para Games, I had a very good preparation and with a world record I have won a gold medal and I’m really happy with that,” he said.
“I’m not going to stop there with that performance, I will try my best at the next world championships in Dubai.
“Thanks to my coach and the Paralympic Committee of India who supported me at every level, it is a really good achievement for India and for me also,” he added.
On the track, Sri Lanka completed a surprise clean sweep of the men’s 200m T42/T63, with gold medallist Prasan Warnakulasooriya joined on the podium by fellow Sri Lankans Chuladasa Abarana Gedura (silver) and Buddika Indrapala (bronze).
“I am so happy especially at my first Asian Games and first, second and third to Sri Lanka,” said Warnakulasooriya.
“On my first tour to run personal best I’m so happy.”
The first three golds of the day on the track went China’s way after Hongzhuan Zhou won the women’s 800m T53, her compatriot Lihong Zou the women’s 800m T54 and Dening Zhu the men’s 200m T38.
While Saudi Arabia’s Ahmed Azawi (200m T35) claimed the other track gold of the morning session.
China missed out in the field though, as Uzbekistan’s Safiya Burkhanova held off a challenge from three Chinese athletes to win gold in the women’s shot put F11/12.
Compatriot Kamolakhon Abdullaeva won the women’s long jump T45/46/47.
Uzebekistan completed a hat-trick of golds in the field as Alexsandr Svechnikov won an enthralling battle with Iran’s Behzad Azizi in the men’s javelin F12/13.
Svechnikov (67.92m) always held the upper hand however, the Iranian (65.62m) pushed him all the way.
Home town shot put sensation Suparniyati Suparniyati won gold with a throw of 10.75m edging out Japan’s Nakada Hiromi in the women’s shot put F20 event.
Rica Oktavia won the hosts second gold of the morning in the women’s long jump T20.
As both athletes were paraded around the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium, local school children greeted them with loud chants of Indonesia, which has become a signature of these Games when the host country wins a medal.
*subject to ratification by World Para Athletics