Iran’s Ahmad Ojaghlou helped his country to finish top of the medals table at the IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships on Saturday 12 March, as he completed a superb hat-trick of wins in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates., with victory in the 400m T47.
The 28-year-old (50.09) has looked in terrific form over the course of the Championships and he gave it his all once again as India’s Sandeep Singh Singh (50.67) tried hard to catch the Iranian before he reached the line.
The win meant a third gold medal for Ojaghlou to add to his 100m and 200m T47 wins from earlier in the week – and he was suitably delighted.
“I am so happy I won three gold medals, I have the best times ever,” he said.
“I have such a happy feeling that my year of exercises has paid off. I did my best to have the best records here. I did that for my country, it was my duty. We all did our best to have the Iranian flag raised many times here!”
There were a further four gold medals for Iran on Saturday at the city’s Police Officer’s Club stadium:
Arash Khosravi notched up his second gold of the Championships with a spectacular finish in the men’s 200m T11. The 22-year-old was pushed hard all the way but just managed to pull clear of his rivals with less than 10m to go, stopping the clock in 24.64.
“I am happy to have two golds now. I worked so hard for this event and I am working very hard to get to Brazil” he said.
“I really want to break the Asian record so I can go to Brazil. It is important for me to do well for Iran. Like any person I love my country and it is important for me to put the flag of my own country higher and higher.”
Ali Elahi (T12) won the men’s 1,500m T13 in 4:20.36, while out in the field Alireza Hemami Mokhtari (F53) won the men’s discus throw F51-53.
His best of 22.71m (843 points) meant another major championship title for the 38-year-old Asian Para Games champion as India’s discus throw F51 Asian record holder Amit Kumar Kumar – winner in the club throw on Wednesday (9 March) - had to make do with silver.
“I am proud for my country today and I hope to go to Rio and win two gold medals – God willing,’ said Mokhtari, who won silver in the shot put a day earlier.
Mahdi Asghari (T42) made it a total of 16 golds out in the field for Iran over the six days of competition as he won the shot put F42/44 with 11.60m (642 points).
Elsewhere a fourth round throw of 57.69m (898 points) proved enough for China’s reigning Paralympic champion and world record holder Pengkai Zhu (F12) to take the men’s javelin F11-13 title.
Zhu only recently returned to competition after injury and he hoped his win in the Middle East represented the start of a return to form as he looks to retain the Paralympic title he won in London four years ago.
“My technique wasn’t stable but I feel generally all right,” explained Zhu. “It was very important to do well here. Every competition is an opportunity to get more experience.”
Further gold came China’s way as Paralympic bronze medallists Juntingxian Jia (T11) and Daqing Zhu (T12) also added to their medal collections, winning the women’s 200m T11 (26.18) and 200m T12 (26.19) respectively.
Kuwait’s Hamad Aladwani won the men’s 400m T53 after a commanding performance, tearing up the track on the back straight before powering home in 54.28.
An impressively strong finish by Japan’s Yuki Nishi in the men’s 400m T54 meant gold for the 22-year-old in a time of 51.27, getting the better of the UAE’s early leader Salem Alshehhi who couldn’t match Nishi’s power in the final 50m.
Amara Indumathi Lallwala Palliyagurunnanselage of Sri Lanka won the women’s 200m T44/47 in 27.89, while victory in the men’s 400m T13 went to India’s Anvil Kumar in 53.98.
India also excelled out in the field as Varun Singh Bhati (T42) set a new Asian record in the high jump T42-47, clearing 1.82m (996 points), and his compatriot Arvind (F37) clinched gold in the men’s discus throw F37/38, saving his best until last - 45.34m (840 points) the winning throw.
Qatar’s Abdulrahman Abdulrahman reached the top of the podium in the men’s shot put F34 having already won bronze and silver medals earlier this week.
The 27-year-old former world record holder threw a best of 10.44m to take Asia-Oceania Championship gold but he’s set his standards far higher this year with the Rio Games on the horizon.
“I want to break a new number – I hope to get the world record back,” he said. “I am not satisfied with my performance today, I want to throw more. It was very important for me to come here and see my mistakes in the competition, and to fix it and get better.”
Pavel Sidorchuk earned Kazakhstan their first championship gold medal out in the field with a winning throw of 11.09m in the shot put F57.
Iran topped the final medals table with a total of 23 gold, 10 silver and 7 bronze. China finished runners up with 16 gold, 9 silver and 5 bronze. India were third, Japan finished in fourth place and the UAE took the fifth spot.