Vol. 5 Num 902 Sun. December 10, 2006  

Khubbieva clinches 100m gold

Guzel Khubbieva of Uzbekistan won the women's 100 metres title here at the Asian Games on Saturday.

The 30-year-old, a two-time relay silver medallist at the Games, timed 11.27 seconds to beat favourite and defending champion Susanthika Jayasinghe Mannalage of Sri Lanka (11.34) while Bahrain's Ruqaya Al Ghasar took the bronze in 11.40sec.

Things could have been different for the head-scarved Bahraini who had a dreadful start after a false start.

Mannalage, who under her maiden name of Jayasinghe won minor medals at the 2000 Olympics and 1997 world championships in the 200m, got the best start but the powerful Khubbieva passed her halfway through the race.

Mannalage, backed by a small but noisy Sri Lankan expatriate crowd in the 50,000 seater Khalifa Stadium, fought back.

But Khubbieva, a two-time silver medallist at last year's Asian Championships, had built up enough of a gap to hold her off while Al Ghasar came late to take third.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's Hussain Taher Al Saba successfully defended his men's long jump title.

The 27-year-old, who is coached by world record holder Mike Powell, posted a best leap of 8.02 metres to take the gold with Kuwait's Saleh Al-Hadad second and another Saudi athlete, Ahmed Faez bin Marzouq, taking the bronze.

Al-Saba has been out of action for the past two years after serving a ban for failing a drugs test which saw him miss the Olympics in Athens.

Uzbekistan's Guzel Khubbieva (R) leads Sri Lanka's Susanthika J Mannalage (L) and Bahrain's Ruqaya Al Ghasara in the women's 100m final at the 15th Asian Games at Khalifa Stadium in Doha yesterday. Khubbieva won the race with a time of 11.27sec. PHOTO: AFP