How an Iraqi came fourth at Asian Games, yet won the gold

Iraq’s Adnan Almntfage was promoted to the gold medal for the men’s 800 metres at the Asian Games on Wednesday in bizarre circumstances after finishing the final in fourth place.

Mohammed Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia crossed the line first, just ahead of Abdulrahman Musaeb Bala of Qatar and Abraham Kipchirchir Rotich of Bahrain after a frantic two-lap race.

But Almntfage was later elevated to the gold medal position after Abdulaziz was disqualified for obstruction and Bala and Rotich were disqualified for lane infractions.

“I am truly thankful for the medal I won today,” said Almntfage.

“I would like to say that the Bahraini, Qatari and Saudi opponents were very worthy opponents – however they made mistakes at the 200m mark.”

“And these mistakes were against the rule of the competition, I hope these mistakes won’t happen again in such a competition.”

China and Qatar also benefitted from the triple disqualifications with China’s Teng Haining moving up from fifth to second place and Qatar’s Jamal Hairane from sixth to third.

The three disqualified athletes indicated that they planned to appeal the ruling but no decision had been made yet.

“I was sad for the disqualified three guys,” said Hairane.

“I’m happy I received a medal but I’m sad for my friend.”

“I saw the replay I saw the Qatari guy cross the line before the 100 metre – I saw the Bahraini and Saudi guy push, it was the right decision.”

The drama overshadowed another strong performance by controversial Qatari sprinter Femi Ogunode, who returned to competition this year after serving a two-year ban for doping.

The Nigerian-born speedster, who switched allegiances to Qatar in 2009, took out the 200m final in 20.14 seconds, an Asian games record.

It was his second gold medal in Incheon after he won the 100m earlier in the week, a result that rekindled complaints about the increasing number of African athletes who have changed to oil-rich nationalities.

“(My) next target is to win gold in the Brazil Olympics,” Ogunode said.

Kemi Adekoya, who moved from her birthland of Nigeria to Bahrain earlier this year, won a second gold for her adopted country on Wednesday.

Adekoya won the women’s 400m hurdles in 55.77, just outside her personal best, after earlier winning the 400m flat race.

“I didn’t break my record, so I’m not satisfied with my time at all. But I did my best,” she said.

Kazakhstan, led by London Olympic champion Olga Rypakova, won three athletics gold medals, all in women’s events, on Wednesday.

Rypakova won the triple jump with a leap of 14.32m, Margarita Mukasheva successfully defended her 800m Asian Games title in a winning time of one minute 59.02 seconds and Olga Safronova won the 200m in 23.02.

China, Japan and Bahrain won two gold medals in track and field, which ends with the men’s marathon on Friday.

Source Credits: Eurosport

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