Neena makes Asian Games cut, selectors to decide Nayana’s case

Long jumper V. Neena Pinto has cleared the Athletics Federation of India’s confirmatory trial for the Asian Games but her Kerala state-mate Nayana James will have to wait for the selectors’ approval before going to Jakarta.

Neena came up with a 6.38m effort in the AFI’s confirmatory trials at Thiruvananthapuram’s Central Stadium on Wednesday.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Long jumper V. Neena Pinto has cleared the Athletics Federation of India’s confirmatory trial for the Asian Games but her Kerala state-mate Nayana James will have to wait for the selectors’ approval before going to Jakarta.

Neena, the silver medalist at last year’s Asian championships in Bhubaneswar, who has a personal best of 6.66m, came up with a 6.38m effort in the AFI’s confirmatory trials at Thiruvananthapuram’s Central Stadium on Wednesday evening, while Nayana, who was troubled by an injury during the inter-state Nationals in Guwahati in June, managed a best of 6.24m. The AFI had fixed 6.34m as the qualification mark for the Asian Games, which begin on Saturday.

“There was heavy rain and there was a lot of water inside the stadium, it was almost like a swimming pool and it was very windy too,” Romanian Bedros Bedrosian, the national coach for jumps, told Sportstar, from Thiruvananthapuram.

C.K. Valson, the AFI secretary who supervised the trials, said he would mention the conditions in his report to the federation.

“Neena qualifies. Regarding Nayana, I will have to report it to the selection committee. She did not do well in the inter-State meet but she had qualified from earlier meets,” said Valson. “It was raining heavily here, I will mention it in my report.”

Nayana — who has a personal best of 6.55m which came last year in Patiala — has a season best of 6.51m which came in the Federation Cup in Patiala in March.

Meanwhile, Karnataka high jumper B. Chethan, who was also asked to undergo the trial, produced a 2.12m under the dismal conditions.

Chethan, who will be 26 on the Asiad’s opening day, had achieved the qualification standard of 2.25m at the Guwahati Nationals and, considering the conditions and lack of competition, the selectors are likely to treat his case and Nayana’s favourably.