Indian athletes to train in Turkey

The training camp in Antalya is expected to help prepare the men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams for the 2016 Olympics, and also boost the chances of Indian athletes in individual events, such as women’s and men’s 400m and 400m hurdles.

Ashwini Akkunji, who had won two gold medals, including the women's 400m hurdles in the 2010 Asian Games, is part of the Indian team that will train in Antalya, Turkey.   -  K. Murali Kumar

M. R. Poovamma, who had won the bronze medal in the women's 400m at the 2014 Asian Games, is one of India's big hopes in Rio.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Rajiv Arokia (right) on the podium with the 400m bronze at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon. Others on the podium are gold medal winner Yousef Masrahi (centre) of Saudi Arabia and silver medal winner Abbas Abubakar of Bahrain.   -  AP

India's promising 400m hurdler Jithin Paul (402) in action at the National Inter-State Athletics Championship in Chennai. Apart from the relays, India's focus at the Rio Olympics is on the 400m hurdles, both men and women.   -  R. Ragu

As part of its preparation for the Rio Olympics, a 22-member Indian athletics squad, including Ashwini Akkunji, Sini Jose and Jithin Paul, will train for 70 days at a state-of-the-art centre in Antalya, Turkey.

The athletes along with the support staff, including veteran coach Yuri Ogorodnik, will leave for Antalya on Saturday morning.

The squad comprises athletes from the National camp for the quarter-mile event, 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay events (men and women). A total of eight women, nine men, five coaches and support staff are part of the team.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) President and IAAF Council Member, Adille J. Sumariwalla, said, “The AFI will strive to do everything in its power to provide the best of training facilities to our athletes for the 2016 Olympics. The training centre in Antalya in Turkey offers the right combination of climatic conditions and also a synthetic hill track for the training of our athletes.

“We hope these world-class training conditions will make a difference to the preparation of our athletes for Rio and I extend my best wishes to all of them. I’m also grateful to the Sports Authority of India and the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for supporting our athletes.”

The training camp in Antalya is expected to help prepare the men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams for the 2016 Olympics, and also boost the chances of Indian athletes in individual events, such as women’s and men’s 400m and 400m hurdles.

The 4x400m women’s relay squad is the reigning Asian Games champion and Asian Games record-holder, while the men’s 4x400m relay squad had won a medal in the past at the Asian Games.

In the 400m, Rajiv Arokia and M. R. Poovamma had won bronze medals in the men’s and women’s sections respectively at the 2014 Asian Games. Star athlete Ashwini Akkunji had won two gold medals in the 2010 Asian Games, including one in the women’s 400m hurdles.