AFI names 51-member team for Asian Junior Athletics

The Indian team consists of 30 men and 21 women athletes.

Kerala long jumper M. Sreeshankar was also named in the team, but he is unlikely to travel to Japan as he is recovering from a surgery, which he underwent in late March. (File Photo)   -  K. RAGESH

Quartermiler Jisna Mathew and triple jumper Kamalraj Kanagraj will spearhead the Indian challenge in the 18th Asian Junior Athletics Championships to be held at Gifu, Japan, from June 7-10.

Shot putter Ashish Bhalothia and hammer thrower Ashish Jakhar are among the other top medal prospects named in the 51-member Indian team. The Indian team consists of 30 men and 21 women athletes.

Kerala long jumper Sreeshankar was also named in the team, but he is unlikely to travel to Japan as he is recovering from a surgery, which he underwent in late March. He was named in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games team, but eventually did not make it.

In the last edition of the championships in Vietnam, two years ago, India finished overall third with 17 medals, which included seven gold, four silver and six bronze. India is hopeful of improving its medal tally this time.

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“We have a good number of upcoming junior athletes. A lot of these juniors are part of our core group and they train in senior camps. We are expecting a good show from our athletes in Gifu,” AFI Secretary C.K. Valson said.

Jisna, a P.T. Usha trainee, with a personal best of 52.65 seconds, has won a senior Asian Championships bronze medal and represented India at the IAAF World Championships in 2017. She was also part of the Indian women’s 4x400m relay team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

In the triple jump, Tamil Nadu’s Kamalraj, with a personal best of 16.41m, has emerged as one of the most promising junior athletes in the country.

At the senior level, Kamalraj represented India at 2018 Asian Indoors in Iran, earlier in 2018, and bagged a silver medal with a jump of 16.23m.