Asian Athletics C’ship: Vikas Gowda’s participation in doubt after poor trials

It was learnt that some of the national coaches were not happy with Gowda’s below-par performance on Sunday.

Vikas Gowda’s 57.7m effort at the trials did not impress some of the national coaches.   -  K. Murali Kumar (File Photo)

Reigning champion discus thrower Vikas Gowda may not be able to defend his title in the Asian Athletics Championships beginning here on July 6 as he came up with a disappointing 57.79m effort in the trials held on Sunday.

Gowda, who holds the national record of 66.28m, underwent a trial here ahead of the championships as the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) wanted to check his fitness level. It was learnt that some of the national coaches were not happy with Gowda’s below-par performance, though the matter has been referred to the selection committee.

An AFI official said that Gowda, who will turn 34 on July 5, has asked for another try on July 4, saying that he would be able to pull off a 60m effort by then. But, the AFI is unlikely to give him another chance as it will amount to giving him special treatment. “Some of the coaches are not happy with Gowda’s performance. His 57.79m will at seventh or eighth if you see at the final results of the last edition in Wuhan in 2015. So, it will be difficult for Gowda to be given an entry to the championships,” an AFI official told PTI.

Gowda came here without much competitive exposure this season. He logged a 62.35m effort at Chula Vista High Performance Meet at his home base in the United States towards the end of May but AFI was keen to assess his fitness and so put him through the grinds on Sunday. AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said the Federation wanted to be completely sure of the athletes’ fitness before confirming their participation in the Asian Athletics Championships. “The results of all the trials are sent to Chairman of Selection Committee G. S. Randhawa for his perusal,” he said.

The AFI was also happy with Gowda’s flop show at the Rio Olympics where he failed to qualify for the final round. Just a few months before the Olympics, the federation was told about a shoulder injury which was said to be a minor one; the AFI had felt he had not given the exact picture of his injury.

Another athlete, national record holder 110m hurdler Siddhanth Thingalaya - based in U.S. - also went through trials on Sunday. He was also mandated to the trial as he had not competed in any event on the domestic circuit this season. The 26-year-old Thingalaya clocked 13.48 seconds in the Altis Invitational at Phoenix in Arizona recently but the result is yet to be ratified.

If his time of 13.48 seconds is ratified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), he will have qualified for the World Championships to be held in London next month.