Hangzhou, Sep 29 (IANS): Kiran Baliyan creates history as she became first Indian to bring home a medal in Athletics, at Asian Games 2023, winning a bronze in women’s shot put at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, here on Friday. A first medal in this event for India after 72 years, since 1951.
Her third attempt which is now her Career's second-best throw, landed 17.36m away from the throwing mark, won her third place and also her maiden senior international medal.
.Not many Indian female athlete has won a medal in the women's shot put though the men have dominated the event with Tejinderpal Singh Toor winning the gold in 2018 in Jakarta.
Barbara Webster was the last Indian to win the bronze medal, and it was way back in 1951.
On Friday, Kiran Baliyan threw the iron ball to a distance of 17.36m to finish third behind China's Lijiao Gong, who won gold in 19.58m while fellow Chinese Jiayuan took the silver medal in 18.92m.
While the focus was on the two Chinese especially Gong Lijiao, who was attempting to win her third gold medal in this event, and for Indians on top thrower Manpreet Kaur, Kiran went about her job and produced her best throw of 17.38 on her third attempt.
The 24-year-old Kiran started with a warmup throw of 15.42 and then landed the ball past the 16.84 metres. She threw it to 17.36 in her third attempt but could not improve upon that, producing throws of 16.76m, 16.79, and 16.87 in her remaining turns in the competition.
China's Lijiao Gong won gold in her third successive Asian Games while Song picked her first Asian Games medal. The veteran Gong later talked about her difficult it is for her at the age of 34 to participate in competitions, to maintain her health and composure considering the upcoming challengers to her crown.
She said her aim now is to do well in the Paris Olympic Games and cross the 21-metre barrier.
Kiran on her part thanked her coaches, the federation, and the government for the support she got in preparing for the Asian Games. "I had a good preparation for the Asian Games and that helped me to win this medal," said Kiran after the event.
It was also a good day for Aishwarya Kailash Mishra in the Women's 400m heats as she produced a season's best of 52.73 seconds to qualify for the final.
In the Men's 400m, India's Mohd Ajmal qualified for the final while compatriot Mohd Anas could not.
Earlier in the morning, India could not win a medal in the men's and women's 20km walk as Vikash Singh and Priyanka Goswami finished 5th in their respective races.