National Inter-State Athletics Championships 2023: Quartermilers Nirmala, Anjali return to competitive scene after long absence

In the 400m heats, while Anjali surprised everyone by achieving 52.89s at the Kalinga Stadium in her first competition in three years, Nirmala posted 55.07s on her comeback.

Published : Jun 15, 2023 21:32 IST , BHUBANESWAR - 2 MINS READ

FILE PHOTO: India’s Nirmala Sheoran.
FILE PHOTO: India’s Nirmala Sheoran. | Photo Credit: PTI

FILE PHOTO: India’s Nirmala Sheoran. | Photo Credit: PTI

As quartermilers Anjali Devi and Nirmala Sheoran are eager to clock good times on their return to competitive scene at the 62nd National Inter-State Athletics championships, it will be interesting to see how they perform in the run-up to big events such as the Asian championships, World championships and the Asian Games.

While Anjali surprised everyone by achieving 52.89s in the heats at the Kalinga Stadium in her first 400m competition in three years and qualifying for the Asian Games, Nirmala posted 55.07s on her comeback and hopes to get better as the event becomes more competitive.

“There was a stress fracture in my left foot. I was treated by Dr. Dinshaw Pardiwala in Mumbai. I was there for five-six months, doing rehab,” said 24-year-old Anjali after her mesmerizing performance on Thursday. She had baffled everyone by going past K.M. Beenamol’s 16-year-old meet record by clocking 51.79s in the National Open meet at the same venue in 2018.

“Due to the injury, I did rehab and after that I did four weeks of training at my place before joining the National camp at Trivandrum seven days back,” said Anjali, even though Athletics Federation of India (AFI) sources claimed that she did not join the camp.

As per a Sports Authority of India (SAI) list issued on April 6, the sprinter was part of the camp at Trivandrum for the three upcoming elite international competitions.

Nirmala, who had several sub-52 performances before she got a four-year suspension for doping, was optimistic on her return following two surgeries on the right knee. The sprinter, who will turn 28 next month, said her preparation lagged as the inter-state meet was advanced.

“I trained only for two months and could not do speed work. If I qualify and come in top-six or eight, then I can try for better. If I am called for the camp, I will join,” said Nirmala, while claiming that the lack of awareness about doping and supplements leads to positive tests.

Everything depends on how the AFI, nurturing hopes of fielding a decent 4x400m women’s relay team, looks at the performances of these two Haryana sprinters, who do not have great track records in big international events away from home.

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