The absence of country’s top quarter milers has taken the sheen away from the 4th National Open 400m championships which will get underway at the LNCPE, Kariyavattom on Sunday.
The national campers Mohammed Anas, Noah Nirmal Tom, Amoj Jacob, Hima Das, V.K. Vismaya, Archana Surendran, K. Summy and P.D. Anjali are the prominent athletes who have chosen to skip the first competitive meet of the season. Most of the campers have started training only recently after the off-season and are targeting the first leg of the Indian Grand Prix, which is slated to be held in Thiruvananthapuram on February 20, as their first competitive event of the season.
The men’s 400m event has attracted the maximum number of entries but the absence of big names will make the Federation Cup and National Games winner, V. Mohammed Ajmal (Kerala) the hot favourite. Tamil Nadu’s Rajesh Ramesh, the silver medallist in the National Games, Nihal Joel and Rahul Baby are expected to give a stiff challenge to Ajmal.
The women’s event wears a thin look with only 10 participants. With big stars choosing to stay away, the national games gold medallist Aiswarya Mishra (Maharashtra) starts as the overwhelming favourite. Dandhi Jyothika SrI (AP) and Subha Ventakesh (TN) will be Aiswarya’s main rivals. Promising junior Rupal Chaudhary is also not competing in the under-20 category.
Apart from men and women, the competitions will be held in under-20, under-18 and under-16 categories in the two-day meet.
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