Javelin throwers getting ready to strike the distance

The focus will be on Neeraj Chopra, who had won the SAF Games gold with a throw of 82.23 metres. The Olympic qualifying mark stands at 83 metres. He will compete in the prestigious meet in Halle.

India's Neeraj Chopra seen in action during the men's javelin throw event at the 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The leading javelin throwers of the country, training in Europe, will try to reach the Olympic qualification standard in two meets in Halle, Germany, and Warsaw, Poland, on May 21.

The focus will be on Neeraj Chopra, who had won the SAF Games gold with a throw of 82.23 metres. The Olympic qualifying mark stands at 83 metres. He will compete in the prestigious meet in Halle.

A release from the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) captured the good work of the throwers in recent competition in Germany, conveying their preparedness to strike soon.

In the Rehlingen Weltklasse meet in Germany, Neeraj had thrown 79.51 metres, while the Germans dominated with throws of 84 metres.

The women throwers Annu Rani (54.75) and Suman Devi (52.71) had modest performances in comparison to the qualification mark of 62 metres for the Rio Games, as well as the effort of the champion reaching a distance of 61 metres.

Coach Garry Calvert of Australia, who has been training the Indian throwers, explained that the performances fell short by nearly six metres owing to the cold conditions.

"The next step is to take places in these big events and give great experience to our athletes as they prepare to take on future big events", said the coach.

After the meet in Halle, the throwers will compete in Warsaw, a 90-minute drive from the training base in Spala. There is also a competition lined up in Belgium on May 28, depending on the availability of entries.

"Over the next few weeks, Neeraj will be in some very challenging meets, while Vipin Kasana is working on increasing his strength level", observed the coach.

The coach had encouraging words about Annu Rani, consistently reaching the mark of her current national record in training.

"We are looking forward to transitioning that into competition here in Europe. She completed three hard competitions in India over 12 days and competed in Germany on Monday night’, said the coach about the woman champion thrower’s ability to cope up with the demanding schedule.

Two others, national record holder Rajender Singh (82.23) and Shivpal Singh have also reached the training base in Spala on Wednesday and will strengthen the Indian attempt to meet the qualifying standards.

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