The Kingdom of Bahrain delegation to the 17th Asian Games, being held in Incheon, in South Korea, made history yesterday (Thursday, October 2) by winning its biggest ever gold medal haul in the history of the Games.
On their penultimate day at the Games, which officially concludes tomorrow (October 4), the Bahraini athletes made another impressive show and captured three gold medals, one silver and three bronze, taking their tally to 18 medals in total, including eight gold, six silver and four bronze.
Bahrain’s gold medals were won by Eunice Kirwa (women’s marathon) and Maryam Jamal (women’s 5,000) and Elhassan Elabbasi (men’s 10,000m).
Mimi Belete (women’s 5,000) took the only silver medal of the day for Bahrain, while Lishan Gemgchu (women’s marathon), Isaac Korir (men’s 10,000m) and the handball team, clinched the bronze.
Eunice Kirwa opened Bahrain’s medal haul of the day, taking home the women’s marathon in two hours, 25 minutes and 37 seconds, her second best record.
Japan’s Ryoko Kizaki (2:25:50) was behind in second place, while another Bahraini runner Lishan Gemgchu (2:33:13) bagged the bronze medal to complete the kingdom’s double.
Late on, five prominent Bahraini athletes battled fiercely in three different athletics events as they searched for more glory.
Maryam Jamal and Mimi Belete led the nation’s medal hopes as they competed in the women’s 5,000m final. Jamal, who recently took the women’s 800m gold medal at Incheon, was again in top form to secure Bahrain’s seventh gold medal, and her second at the Games.
Jamal raced to victory in 14 minutes and 59.69 seconds, edging runner up Belete (15:00.87) and third-placer Changqin Ding (15:12.51) of China.
In the men’s 10,000m, Elhassan Elabbasi raced to victory in 28 minutes and 11.20 seconds. In the same race, Isaac Korir (28:11.94) was able to finish in third place, just behind silver medalist Suguru Osako (28:45.65) of Japan.
Mohamed Yusuf headed into the men’s triple jump final with high hopes, but he could only claim 12th position with his best attempt being 15.40 metres.
In the third-place match of the handball competition, Bahrain made a sensational comeback in the second-half to beat favourites Iran 28-25 and with it their first-ever handball bronze medal in the history of the Asian games.
After watching their gold medal dreams go up in smoke, Bahrain’s national handball team took on Iran in the bronze medal yesterday. The Salah Bouchekriou-coached Bahrainis survived a 12-13 half-time deficit to beat their opponents 28-25 and secure third place.
Mahmood Abdulqader was Bahrain’s saver, scoring a game-high 10 goals, which proved vital. Mahmood’s elder brother and team skipper Jaffer Abdulqader also contributed to the victory, scoring four goals along with Sadiq Abdulla and Mahdi Madan.
In table tennis, Bahrain’s Maryam Al Qasimi crashed out of the women’s singles section after a heavy 0-4 defeat to South Korea’s Haeun Yang. The game scores were 3-11, 1-11, 4-11, 6-11.
Bahrain delegation head and president of the Bahrain Athletics Association Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa followed up the Bahraini athletes’ progress yesterday and met with them at the end of the competitions.
Accompanied by Bahrain Olympic Committee general secretary Abdulrahman Askar, committee board member Shaikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa and other high-ranking sports officials, Shaikh Khalid was all praise for his athletes’ efforts and honorable results at the Games, and wished them success in the future.
Meanwhile, Bahrain will mark its final day at the games today when Hasan Mahbob and Ismail Adam will both line up at the Men’s 42km marathon starting at 2am (Bahrain time).