Bhubaneswar: The 22nd Asian Athletics Championships concluded at the Kalinga Stadium here with a grand ceremony amid a host of dignitaries including Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Sports Minister Chandra Sarathi Behera and many noted sports personalities and leaders. For the first time in its history India finished on top of the standings table beating the likes of continental powerhouse China, Korea, Iran.
India outscored every one else bagging five golds on the concluding day and finished its campaign with 12 gold, five silver and 12 bronze medals making a total of 29 medals during the five-day mega sports extravaganza.
It was all gold for India today with Neeraj Chopra taking the top spot in men's javelin event with a new meet record of 85.23 throw while Govindan Laxmanan won the men's 10,000 metres and Swapna Burman bagged gold in women's heptathlon. Similarly, both men's and women's teams impressed everyone with their golds in the 4x400 m relay events.
Davinder Singh Kang of India took bronze in javelin throw while Gopi Thonakal made it a 1-2 for India in the men's 10,000m by taking the silver. Jinson Johnson fetched a bronze for India in the men's 800m. Purnima Hembram also won the bronze in women's heptathlon.
India made a complete show of dominance pushing the regular favourites China to second position with the continental powerhouse lagging far behind in second place with a total of 20 medals which included eight gold, seven silver and five bronze.
Kazakhstan finished the continental flagship event on third position with four gold, two silver and two bronze making a total of eight medals.
The final day was, however, not without its share of controversy as Archana Yadav, who crossed the line first in the women's 800m final, was stripped of the gold medal for pushing Nimali Waliwarsha Konda of Sri Lanka during the final stretch making a mood dampener but all in all the jampacked crowd in the Kalinga Stadium got their money worth thanks to memorable performances from the Indian contingent.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik greeted all Indian athletes for creating history in Odisha. "'India creates history in
#Odisha.No1 in medals tally. #AAC2017 a giant leap for athletics in country.Huge congratulations!," he tweeted.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik presented the champions trophy to the Indian contingent.
"We have all witnessed history in the making. Four days of packed stadium, deafening cheers and overwhelming support, will power, grit, pouring medals amidst pouring rain and a lifetime of memories for both Asia and Odisha,"
"We have managed to create a landmark event and extend it into a permanent facility that will nurture Indian athletics and Odisha in particular."
The CM also took the enthusiasm of Odias to a new level saying it is good opportunity to announce that Kalinga International Sports City will be set in Bhubaneswar making it a bidder for most international competitions including Commonwealth and Asian Games.
Patnaik also announed that satellite stadiums with world class infrastructure facilities will be set up in four other corporations of the state namely Rourkela, Cuttack, Berhampur and Sambalpur .
Meanwhile, all schools in Bhubaneswar have been directed to remain closed today in view of students who participated as volunteers during the concluding ceremony of the event, the CM announced.