Asian Games: Kartik Kumar, Gulveer Singh finish 2-3 in men's 10,000m

Kartik Kumar and Gulveer Singh celebrate after winning silver and bronze, respectively, at the Hangzhou Asian Games on Saturday. MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images

"Make hay when the sun shines" goes the phrase. Indian runners Kartik Kumar and Gulveer Singh did just that on Saturday as they clinched silver and bronze, respectively, at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

The duo were snapping on the heels of the leaders pack when the race turned on its head in the penultimate lap. A collision took out three runners, all of whom were in the leading pack.

Kartik and Gulveer seized the opportunity with both hands [or both feet, in this case!] as they ran their way to the podium while clocking the best timings of their lives. Karthik reduced his earlier personal best by a stunning 40 seconds [28:15.38] to take silver, while Gulveer ran 37 seconds [28:17.21] faster than his best to take home the bronze. Bahrain's Birhanu Yemataw Balew won gold with a timing of 28:13.62.

The two medals mean India's medal tally from athletics moves to three after Kiran Baliyan won bronze in the women's shot put on Friday. It was the first shot put medal won by an Indian woman in 72 years.

Kartik, 24, was brilliant in his first senior-level international competition. The national champion led the race for the first five-odd laps and stuck through to see out the biggest win of his career. Kartik had won bronze at the 2018 Asian U20 Championships.

Gulveer, fresh from finishing fifth at the 2023 Athletics Championships, timed his race well to seize on the late opportunity. The 25-year-old won gold at the 2023 Federation Cup in Ranchi and a silver at the Inter-States in June.

Gulveer will be back in action in the men's 5000m on October 4. He has finished on the podium in every 5000m race he has run this year, with the highlight being a bronze at the Asian Athletics Championships.

Earlier in the day, Aishwarya Mishra finished fourth in the women's 400m while Muhammad Ajmal finished fifth in the men's 400m. Both of India's long jumpers, Sreeshankar Murali and Jeswin Aldrin also qualified for the final. Sreeshankar's 7.97m was the second-best in the qualification round, while Jeswin's 7.67m also got him a spot in the medal round.

Jyothi Yarraji and Nithya Ramraj reached the women 100m hurdles final, while Jinson Johnson and Ajay Kumar Saroj qualified for the men's 1500m final as well. In the women's heptathlon, Agsara Nandini was placed fourth after four events while defending champion Swapna Barman was sixth.