It was double delight for India in the Men’s 800m final of the Asian Games as two athletes finished on the podium. Manjit Singh clinched the gold medal with a time of 1:46:15 seconds. His compatriot Jinson Johnson came second with a time of 1:46:35 seconds to secure the silver medal.
This is the first time in this year’s Asian Games that India has secured both the gold and silver in the same event. Abubakar Abdalla from Qatar who was one of the favourites coming into the event, took home the bronze medal with a time of 1:46:38.
As the runners entered the second lap, Abdalla along with Abraham Rotich who were in front of the pack, raised their pace in an attempt to break away from the group. But Jinson and Manjit managed to stay abreast of the leading group.
With about 100m left in the race, Manjit made the final dash from the outside and with Jinson too putting in the hard yards in the home stretch, the two athletes ensured that India took the top two spots.
Manjit surprised the rest of the field with his performance. He qualified for the final as only the eighth fastest athlete. He clocked in a semifinal time of 1:48:64 seconds. Jinson was in much better form and was tipped to be the only Indian with a chance of winning a medal.
This year so far has been a memorable one for Jinson. He first set a new national record in the 1500m event where he finished fifth at the Commonwealth Games. Jinson then broke the 800m record as well at the National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships in June setting a new record at 1:45.65 seconds. On this occasion, Manjit was the one to end up with the silver medal with a time of 1:46.24 seconds.
Jinson also had a strong showing at the 2015 Asian Athletics Championships in China by finishing second in the 800m event and then followed it up with three gold medals later on in the year, at the Asian Grand Prix in Thailand.