Nepal’s Ajit Kumar Yadav strikes historic gold at Asian Youth meet

  • The Armed Police Force’s middle distance runner wins 3,000-metre race in Hong Kong, finishing ahead of Indian and Yemeni rivals
- Ritesh Rijal, Kathmandu

Mar 18, 2019-

Ajit Kumar Yadav has secured a historic gold medal at the continental event, winning the 3,000-metre race at the third Asian Youth Championships in Hong Kong on Sunday.

The Armed Police Force’s middle distance runner, who was the sole representative from Nepal at the meet, completed the race in 8:30.32—over six seconds clear of India’s Amit Jangir (8:36.34) in the 15-man strong field. Gamil al-Hamati of Yemen who finished the race in 8:38.60 completed the podium. Kisan Narshi Tadvi of India holds the meet record of 8:26.24 which he set in the first edition held in Doha in 2015.

“It is one of the biggest achievements in the history of Nepali athletics,” said Sushil Narsingh Rana, the technical director at the National Sports Council.

“We still fondly talk about Jeet Bahadur KC for his Asian-level bronze. But I believe what Yadav has achieved in Hong Kong is much bigger in stature,” Rana, former senior national team head coach, noted. “He has set a new benchmark in the Nepali athletics.”

KC won a bronze medal at the first Asian Track and Field Championship in Manila, Philippines in 1973. It was the first international medal won by a Nepali athlete.

“Legendary athlete Baikuntha Manandhar holds a unique record of winning three consecutive marathon gold medals at the South Asian Games. Yadav’s achievement is also unique,” added Rana.

Manandhar had won the last of his South Asian Games marathon gold in Kolkata in 1987 clocking 2:15:03—a record which still stands.

Yadav’s gold medal saw Nepal finish a joint 10th place with Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Thailand in the final medal standings dominated by China with 12 gold, 10 silver and 9 bronze. India finished second with 27 medals including eight gold, 10 silver, followed by Japan with 20 medals including six gold and eight silver.

In all, 436 athletes aged between 16 and 17 from 31 nations participated in the Asian Youth Championships that started on Friday. Three-day biennial meet, sanctioned by the athletics’ world governing body—International Association of Athletics Federations, featured 20 track and field events for boys and girls.

Published: 18-03-2019 11:04

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