Long jumper Shaili Singh and quartermiler Priya Mohan, both under-20 World championship medallists, will skip the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) at Panchkula in Haryana as the dates of the athletics events fall very close to two major championships.

Originally scheduled in November-December last year, the KIYG have been postponed thrice and will now be held from June 4 to 13 with athletics running from June 7 to 9. That’s poor scheduling!

But the dates fall between the Junior Federation Cup at Nandiad (Gujarat, June 2-4) and the Inter-State Nationals in Chennai (June 10-14), both crucial events as the World championships (Oregon, USA), under-20 Worlds (Cali, Colombia) and the Commonwealth Games (Birmingham, England) are lined up in July and August this year.

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Shaili (silver) and Priya (4x400m mixed relay bronze & fourth in individual 400m) – both top seeds in the KIYG rankings - will be competing in both the Junior Federation Cup and the Inter-State to pick up precious World ranking points that could fetch them berths in the senior Worlds through the World rankings route and hence have decided to give the KIYG a miss.

Priya is currently 56th in the women’s 400m in the World Athletics’ Road to Oregon rankings and with just 48 berths available for the senior Worlds, she will be going all out in her next few meets to climb the rankings ladder.

Shaili, who competed in just one meet this year – the recent Grand Prix in Bhubaneswar where she did 6.27m – after recovering from a back injury and COVID-19, is yet to enter the Oregon rankings and thus could be desperate to grab crucial points.

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And when one does three competitions in 13 days, travelling thousands of miles from Nandiad to Panchkula and then to Chennai without any break, there is a chance of the athlete getting injured. So, the two young stars have decided to play it safe.

“It’s quite disappointing and we are sad about it. We can’t take any risk in this important year,” Robert Bobby George, Shaili’s coach, told Sportsta r from Bengaluru.

“No. Can’t do (KIYG)...dates are clashing. The inter-State is the final qualification for the senior Worlds,” said Priya’s coach Arjun Ajay.

Incidentally, both Priya and Shaili have already qualified for the Junior Worlds.