The tactic of starting with Hima Das in the first leg proved to be the master stroke as India clinched their fifth straight Asian Games gold in the 4x400m relay by quite a distance in Jakarta on Friday.
Das gave India a sizable lead after the first leg and even though Bahrain had Salwa Naser in the final leg she had just too much ground to cover as VK Vismaya crossed the finish line in 3:28.72 sec to clinch the gold.
Bahrain finished second with a timing of 3:30.61 sec while Vietnam took the bronze medal with a timing of 3:33.23 sec.
At the halfway stage, India had built up a 30m lead over second-placed Japan while Bahrain were third. However, the Japanese lost steam in the last two legs and finished fifth despite registering a season best timing of 3:34.14 seconds.
The last time India failed to finish on the top of the podium in this event was back in 1998 when the team bagged the silver behind China.
(For all the updates on day 12, check out our blog here.)
India finished third overall in athletics behind China (12, 12, 9) and Bahrain (12, 6, 7) after another fruitful day.
India won five medals on the final day with Jinson Johsnon winning the gold in the men’s 1500m to make amends for the silver in the 800m before the women’s team narrowly missed the Games record in their comfortable victory in 4x400m relay.
Das won her third Asian Games medal, and this time a gold, as the Indian women’s quartet of Hima, M R Poovamma, Sarita Gayakwad and V K Bismaya faced no competition as they easily took the gold.
The individual 400m silver winner Hima, who began first, provided a handsome lead to Poovamma, who maintained it and passed on the baton to Sarita. The Gujarati girl too remained strong in her lap and Vismaya comfortably finished the race.
However, the Indian team missed out on the Games record of 3:28.68 as they clocked 3:28.72.