She may have walked away with the best athlete award at last week’s Open Nationals in Bhubaneswar but the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has asked Haryana quartermiler Anjali Devi Kundu to undergo assessment tests after joining the National camp which begins in various parts of the country on October 10.
Anjali had virtually come out of nowhere and clocked a very impressive 51.79s – the fourth best time in Asia this year – while winning the 400m gold in Bhubaneswar.
The camp for quartermilers and 400m hurdlers will be held in Patiala and Anjali is among the 17 athletes – eight men and nine women, mostly juniors and all from the same group – who have been asked to undergo the tests.
With 2019 being a major year — Doha is hosting both the Asian Championships (April) and the Worlds (Sept.-Oct.)— the AFI has invited 25 men and 22 women for the quartermilers and 400m hurdlers’ camp and it appears to be a record number.
Anilda to attend
And with the federation making it clear that only athletes who attend national camps would be considered for national relay team berths, a few athletes, who had been evading national camps in the past, now appear to have changed their minds.
“I’m planning to attend the national camp, especially since I don’t have many years left on the track,” Olympian Anilda Thomas, who was part of the women’s relay team in Rio two years ago, told Sportstar on Tuesday evening.
“If we go to the national camp, we will have the services of physio, masseur, everything,” said the 25-year-old who is among the athletes who have been asked to undergo an assessment test at the upcoming national camp.
“And Galina (Bukharina, the Russia-born American national quartermilers coach) is a good coach too.”
Anilda, Anu Raghavan and national 400m record holder Muhammed Anas had been training under Kerala Sports Council coach P.B. Jaikumar earlier and while the last two had joined the national camp prior to the Asian Games, Anilda decided not to go as she was recovering from an injury.
Arpinder moved to Patiala
Meanwhile Asian Games triple jump champion Arpinder Singh, who had been training in Thiruvananthapuram where Romanian Bedros Bedrosian had been the national jumps coach, has been moved to the Patiala national camp while national men’s long jump record holder Ankit Sharma and Nayana James, the women’s long jump bronze medallist at last year’s Bhubaneswar Asians, have not been included in the list for the national camp.
No camp for 100m runners
Also missing from the national camp list is the entire bunch of 100 and 200m sprinters in both the men’s and women’s sections despite the scintillating performance of Dutee Chand, who won silver in both these events at the recent Asian Games in Jakarta, and some impressive timings clocked by Indian athletes in the last few meets.