Poonia main attraction at Indian GP athletics first leg

Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Krishna Poonia will be the main attraction when more than 100 athletes seek Rio Olympics berths in the season-opening first Indian Grand Prix athletics meet here tomorrow.

Krishna Poonia is the first Indian woman to win an athletics gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Krishna Poonia will be the main attraction when more than 100 athletes seek Rio Olympics berths in the season-opening first Indian Grand Prix athletics meet here tomorrow.

Poonia, the first Indian woman to win an athletics gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, is returning to action after a gap of two years, post surgery.

There are high expectations from both the men and women javeline throwers who have been shaping up well under Australian coach Gary Calvert.

The performance of youngster Neeraj Chopra, who threw his personal best of 82.23m at the South Asian Games in Guwahati, and the 2014 Asian Games bronze-medallist Annu Rani and Suman Devi will be keenly watched by their foreign coach at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium tomorrow.

Quartermiler Arokya Rajiv won bronze in the Asian Games and he will aim to book a Rio berth sooner than later.

Eighteen Indian track and field athletes, including eight women, have so far qualified for Rio Olympics to be held in August.

The two-leg Indian GP Series and the Federation Cup will provide an early start to the Rio countdown for Indian athletes who are hoping to book their Olympic berths in these qualification championships.

The Federation Cup will also be held here from April 28-30 while the second leg of the Indian GP is scheduled to be held at NIS Patiala on May 7.

Overall, more than 100 athletes are expected to participate in 19 events tomorrow. The meet is being hosted by the Delhi State Athletics Association under the aegis of the Athletics Federation of India.

The following events will be conducted in Indian Grand Prix — I and II:

Men: 1) 100m, 2) 400m, 3) 1500m, 4) 3000m, 5) long jump, 6) triple jump, 7) high jump, 8) shot put, 9) javelin throw, 10 discus throw.

Women: 1) 100m, 2) 400m, 3) 1500m, 4) 3000m, 5) long jump, 6) triple jump, 7) shot put, 8) javelin throw, 9) discus throw.