Asian Games: Parul Chaudhary claims gold in Women’s 5000m with late surge

Parul Chaudhary’s impressive late surge secured India’s first gold medal in women’s 5000m at the Asian Games.

Parul Chaudhary’s remarkable late surge in the women’s 5000m event secured India’s first gold medal at the Asian Games on Tuesday. In a thrilling display of determination, Parul Chaudhary overtook Japan’s Ririka Hironaka in the final 10 meters of the race to clinch the coveted gold.

At the halfway point of the race, Parul Chaudhary found herself in sixth place. However, she displayed unwavering resolve as she steadily advanced, surpassing competitors one by one. In the closing stages of the race, Parul summoned a burst of energy that allowed her to surge past her Japanese opponent, Ririka Hironaka, ultimately securing the gold medal with a remarkable timing of 15:14.75.

Japan’s Ririka Hironaka, who put up a strong performance, finished second with a timing of 15:15.34. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan’s Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui clinched the bronze medal, achieving her season’s best effort with a timing of 15:25.12. India’s Ankita delivered a commendable performance, finishing fifth with a personal best timing of 15:33.03 at this distance.

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While Parul Chaudhary’s performance in the 5000m event may not have surpassed her personal best of 15:10.69, she expressed her contentment, especially given the circumstances. Notably, this was her second race in two consecutive days, as she had secured a silver medal in the Women’s 3000m race the day before.

Reflecting on her motivation, Parul Chaudhary explained, “I was a bit disappointed after missing gold in the 3000m steeplechase last evening. When I returned to the village, I could not sleep for long as I kept thinking about the steeplechase. Then I decided that I would give my all in the 5000m.”

Despite briefly dropping to sixth place during the race, Parul Chaudhary remained confident in her ability to reclaim a position in the medal race. “For a moment, I thought I may finish out of medal contention, but then I was confident that I had enough reserves. I was feeling in good rhythm, and also the conditions were good; it was not very hot,” she remarked.

Expressing her aspiration to win the gold medal for a potential promotion from the Uttar Pradesh government, Parul pushed her limits in the last few laps. As she entered the final lap, she closed in on Hironaka and, in the last few meters, surged ahead of the Japanese runner.

When questioned about her strategy of waiting until the end to make her final dash for the finish line, Parul Chaudhary clarified that there was no predefined strategy. “I just wanted to give it my all. It was on the track that I decided to wait till the end and then attack the Japanese runner,” she disclosed.

With this impressive victory, Parul Chaudhary added another accolade to India’s athletics achievements at the Hangzhou Asian Games, marking the nation’s third gold medal in the sport. India has also secured ten silver and eight bronze medals in athletics thus far.

Parul expressed her gratitude to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Athletics Federation of India for facilitating her training camp in the USA, conducted under the guidance of coach Scott Simmons. This training has contributed significantly to her improvement over the past couple of years, including setting a new personal best at the World Championships.

Looking ahead, Parul Chaudhary’s coach believes that if she continues on her current trajectory, she stands a good chance of qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

The late surge and remarkable determination displayed by Parul Chaudhary in the women’s 5000m event have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the Asian Games.

-IANS

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