Hangzhou, Sep 30 (IANS): India continued to pick unexpected medals in the Asian Games in track and field competitions at the Asian Games as distance runners Karthik Kumar and Gulveer Singh bagged a silver and bronze respectively in the Men's 10,000m race at the Hangzhou Olympic Stadium here on Saturday.
Both of them clocked their personal best times as they finished behind Bahrain's Birhanu Yemataw Balew to claim for India the first 2-3 finish in the 19th edition of the Asian Games.
Karthik Kumar, the 24-year-old Armyman from Uttar Pradesh, clocked 28 minutes 15.38 to claim the silver medal while Gulveer Singh finished in a time of 28:17.21 to bag the bronze medal. Balew took the gold medal in 28:13.62.
Their timing is the Indian all-time second and third-best-timing and is next in line following the National Record by their coach Surender Singh -- 28:02.89 set in 2008.
It was a great performance by both Karthik and Gulveer as they came up with their best efforts. It is the second day in running that India has picked a medal from the track and field competitions that they had not expected. Kiran Baliyan claimed a silver medal in the women's shot put competition on Friday.
Karthik made a fast start and completed the first 1000m in 2:51.76 and was ahead on the timing at the 2000m mark, having completed it in 5:45.70. Japan's Ren Tazawa led till the 6000m having a timing of 17:06.48. Fellow Japanese Kazurya Shojiri took over after that before he was reeled in in the final few laps as Balew took over the charge with 1000m to go for the finish. Karthik and Gulveer settled behind him and finished in second and third position respectively.
It was a slow race considering the Games record is 27:32.72 held by Sillisuma Shugi of Bahrain set way back at Guangzhou in 2010. The Asian record is 26:38.76 by Qatar's Ahmad Hassan Abdullah set in 2003.
Was confident of winning medal, says Karthik.
Though not many had given them much hope, Karthik said he was expecting a medal in Hangzhou.
"I am very happy to win a medal for my country. I have given it my best and it was really great to see Gulveer also win the medal.
"Though not many people may have had hopes for us I was confident of winning a medal here. The government has spent so much money on sending us here, giving us training abroad and helping us prepare for the Asian Games. We had to give it our best," he told IANS over the phone just before he left for the medal ceremony.
He said he and Gulveer were not given any tactical inputs that they had to follow each other. "We ran our races, there was no tactics that we would combine and follow each other," he said.
Gulveer too was very happy after winning the bronze medal.
It is his first medal in the Asian Games and he said he feels very proud to have won a medal for the country.