Golden Start for India: Yarraji, Toor Secure Victories

Asian Games medallist Harmilan set the ball rolling by winning the country’s first gold medal in the 2024 edition of the event by crossing the finish line first in the women’s 1500m event…reports Asian Lite News

Jyothi Yarraji and Tajinderpal Singh Toor set new National Records while Harmilan Bains too surged to victory as India picked three gold medals on the opening day of the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in Tehran, Iran on Saturday.

Jyothi Yarraji she won the women’s 60m hurdles gold with a new National Record to boot, clocking 8.12 seconds to improve her own National Record of 8.13 set in the Asian Championships at Astana, Kazakhstan in February 2023.

Toor came up with a superb effort of 19.72 metres to end first in the men’s shot put as he smashed the indoor National Record, set 19 years ago by Olympian Vikas Gowda. While Toor hogged the limelight by setting a National Record, compatriot Dhanveer Singh came up with a commendable effort of 18.59 to finish fourth.

Asian Games medallist Harmilan set the ball rolling by winning the country’s first gold medal in the 2024 edition of the event by crossing the finish line first in the women’s 1500m event. Harmilan raced to glory in 4:29.55 to clinch gold for India.

Jyothi Yarraji has dominated the hurdles scene in the country and at the continental level both outdoor and indoor. She had broken Gayathri Govindaraj’s national record of 8.34 in January 2023.

Since then, Jyothi Yarraji has broken the 60m hurdles national record six times. Jyothi set a national record last year when she ran a time of 8.20 seconds, then beat it four times more to bring it down to 8.13 seconds.

Jyothi had topped her heat earlier in the day, recording 8.22 seconds. Jyothi, who won a silver medal in the last edition bettered her medal by winning a gold.

Jyothi had a very successful season last year last year, with a gold medal at the Asian Outdoor Athletics Championships and silver at the Asian Games as well as the Asian Indoor Championships. The 24-year-old Reliance Foundation athlete from Visakhapatnam will be hoping to add more medals to the silver she won in women’s 60m hurdles in 2023.

In the field events in the morning session, Shaili Singh and Nayana James showcased their prowess in the long jump final, delivering commendable performances to secure fifth and sixth place, respectively. Though falling short of the podium finish, their efforts added valuable points to India’s tally.

Toor continued India’s brilliant run in the evening session when he bagged the gold medal in the shot put and a National Record. In the final, he started with a foul and then hurled the iron ball to 19.72m. Though he fouled the third throw, Toor managed 19.21 in his fourth turn but could not improve as he fouled the fifth and sixth attempts. But his second throw was enough and he won the gold medal with a total distance of 19.72m.

Things did not go well for Ajay Kumar Saroj in the Men’s 1500m as he could manage to only clock 3:52.56 and finished sixth. Nursultan Keneshbekov of Kyrgyzstan won the gold medal in 3:49.10.

India has sent a 15-member contingent for the 11th edition of the Asian Indoor Championships.

Mike Procter. (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)

Cricket World Pays Tribute to Mike Procter

Legendary South Africa cricketer Mike Procter has died following complications after a heart surgery. He was 77.

Procter’s wife Maryna confirmed the news to the South African press late on Saturday, ICC reports.

Procter is considered as a Test great despite a short international career, abbreviated due to South Africa’s sporting isolation from the 1970s and 1980s. He played seven Test matches, all against Australia, taking 41 wickets at an impressive average of 15.02.

Known for a chest-on action and releasing the ball early in his delivery stride, Procter helped South Africa go undefeated in the seven-Test stretch, winning six matches and the other being a draw.

His best figures of 6 for 73 came in the second innings of his final appearance at Port Elizabeth, to seal a crushing 323-run victory.

Procter was also known for his power with the bat, making key runs in a 4-0 whitewash of Australia in 1969/1970, and his work for South Africa was acknowledged by Wisden, named as one of their Cricketers of the Year in 1970.

Procter was South Africa’s coach upon their readmission to international cricket, and oversaw the Proteas’ 1992 Cricket World Cup to the semifinals.

He later went on to serve as an ICC match referee between 2002 and 2008, where controversy seemed to follow him – he was the referee at The Oval in 2006 when Pakistan forfeited the Test and again in Sydney in 2007-08 when he banned Harbhajan Singh. He stood down from the position in 2008 in order to take up a new role as South Africa’s convener of selectors.

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