75 years of independence, 75 iconic moments from Indian sports: No 17 – Kamaljit Sandhu 400m gold at 1970 Asian Games

India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes. Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.

Kamaljit Sandhu’s 400m gold at 1970 Bangkok Asian Games

India’s sprint queen, Kamaljit Sandhu set the Bangkok tracks ablaze when she clinched a gold medal in the 400 metres photo-finish final at the sixth Asian Games in Bangkok on December 14, 1970.

Sprinting smoothly, Kamaljit took the lead and maintained it for the first 200 metres but Taiwan’s hot favourite Chi Cheng with the sudden burst of speed overtook Kamaljit and was almost certain to finish second to none.

FILE PHOTO: Kamaljt Sandhu hits the tape ahead of Balass of Israel to land the first 400m gold by an Indian woman in the 1970 Asiad in Bangkok on December 14, 1970.   –  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

 

However, 50 metres from the tape, Chi Cheng collapsed on the track writhing in pain due to a muscle pull. Kamaljit was nearly 10 metres behind at that time.

In a flash, Kamaljit burst past Israel’s Aviva Balass. There was an agonising moment of suspense as both Balass and Kamaljit were timed 57.8 seconds.

It was the camera which gave its verdict in favour of Kamaljit.

(The article was first published in The Hindu on December 15, 1970)

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