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Global perspective: Tajinderpal Singh Toor’s 20.75m Asian Games throw is big, but still some way to go


tajinderpal singh toortajinderpal singh toor Tajinderpal Singh Toor won the gold medal in men’s shotput at Asian Games. (Reuters Photo)

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Tejinder Pal Singh Toor’s gold medal at the Asian Games hardly comes as a surprise. He has led the continental charts this year — his effort of 20.24m at the Federation Cup in Patiala in March was comfortably better than Iranian Shahin Mehrdelan’s throw of 19.92m. But since the Federation Cup, Toor hadn’t been able to replicate his performances. At the Commonwealth Games Down Under in April, he settled for eighth place with a throw of 19.42m. So, in a way, Toor was competing with himself for the gold medal at the Asian Games.

Eventually, he managed a best effort of 20.75m to win the gold. In the process, he broke Om Prakash Karhana’s six-year-old national record of 20.69m and also set a Games Record. Toor demolished the field on Saturday — his throw was almost a meter ahead of the rest of the field, with silver medal winner Yang Liu of China managing only 19.52m.

While in most sports, the level of competition is better at the Asian Games compared to, say, the Commonwealth Games, it is the other way round in track and field. The CWG usually attracts a world-class field in most disciplines. For instance, Toor’s gold medal-winning effort of 20.75m in Jakarta would have fetched him only a sixth place at the Gold Coast Games. The podium finishers at the CWG recorded distances of 21.41m (New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh), 21.14m and 20.91m respectively.

Asian Games records set by Indian athletes

Catch 22m

No Indian has ever qualified for the shot put final at the Olympics. Toor’s performance, however, would earn him a place in the medal round at the 2016 Rio Olympics as well as the World Championships. At the last two World Championship, the qualifying cut was set at 20.55m and 19.94m respectively. Similarly, in Rio the cut was 20.40m whereas in London 2012 it was 20.75m. While he may still be way off the medal mark (gold has been won with a throw close to 22m), Toor can at least be in contention for a spot in the final, which is considered to be an achievement in itself for India’s track and field athletes, if he remains consistent.

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