To listen click here
Hangzhou, September 30: Kiran Baliyan created history by becoming the first Indian to win a medal in athletics at the 2023 Asian Games as she won a bronze medal in the women’s shot put at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium. This achievement is India’s first medal in this competition in 72 years since 1951.
During her third attempt, now the second best throw of her career, Kiran Baliyan launched the shot put to a distance of 17.36 metres, giving her third place and her first senior international medal.
While Indian male athletes have historically dominated the men’s shot put event, with Tejinderpal Singh Toor winning gold in Jakarta in 2018, few Indian female athletes have won medals in the women’s shot put event. The last Indian woman to win a bronze medal in this event was Barbara Webster in 1951.
At the 2023 Asian Games, Kiran Baliyan faced stiff competition from Chinese athletes, especially Lijiao Gong, who was aiming for her third consecutive gold medal in the event. Despite the competition, Kiran achieved her best throw of 17.36 meters in her third attempt.
Kiran, who is 24, started with a warm-up throw of 15.42m and kept improving, eventually hitting the shot put at 17.36m. Although she could not cross this mark in subsequent attempts, her performance earned her a bronze medal.
China’s Lijiao Gong won the gold medal with a throw of 19.58 metres, while her compatriot Jiayuan won the silver medal with a throw of 18.92 metres. Following her win, Gong discussed the challenges of competing at the age of 34 and stated her goal to perform well and clear the 21-meter barrier at the Paris Olympic Games.
Kiran expressed her gratitude to her coaches, the federation and the government for their support in her Asian Games preparation and emphasized that her preparation played a vital role in her medal win.
In another positive development for India, Aishwarya Kailash Mishra clocked a season’s best of 52.73 seconds in the women’s 400m heats to secure her place in the final. In the men’s 400 meters event, India’s Mohammad Ajmal also qualified for the final, while his compatriot Mohammad Anas could not reach.
However, India missed out on a medal in the men’s and women’s 20 km walk as Vikas Singh and Priyanka Goswami finished 5th in their respective races.