Srabani Nanda fastest Indian this year, Neeraj Chopra flies to France

Srabani Nanda clocked a personal best 11.36s while running against some of the world's best at the NACAC New Life Invitational Meet in Florida.

Nanda had clocked a faster but wind-assisted 11.29s in the preliminary round.   -  FILE PHOTO

Srabani Nanda, currently the most active Indian athlete in the world, has emerged as the fastest Indian woman this year. While the rest of the Indians are desperately hunting for competitions, the 30-year-old from Odisha clocked a personal best 11.36s while running against some of the world's best at the NACAC New Life Invitational Meet in Florida, the US, on Saturday.

The 100m final at the World Athletics Continental Tour event was run as two races and Nanda, who has been training in Jamaica for the last few seasons and who has run in more than 15 meets this year, was sixth in her race and 13th overall. Jamaican Elaine Thompson, the Rio Olympics 100 and 200m champion, won the event in 10.87s while American Tianna Bartoletta, the long jump gold medallist in Rio, was second in 10.96.

Nanda had clocked a faster but wind-assisted 11.29s in the preliminary round.

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With her 11.36s, Nanda replaces S. Dhanalakshmi, who clocked 11.38s in the Federation Cup in Patiala in March, as the Indian leader in the event this season. National record holder Dutee Chand (personal best 11.22, season best 11.44) and Hima Das (11.63) occupy the third and fourth in this year's list. The qualification standard for Tokyo in the 100m is 11.15s.

AFI will go by its rules: Adille

Though the women's 4x100m relay team is in the 22nd rung, in the Road to Tokyo rankings, the AFI is confident that it will qualify for next month's Olympics where the relays will be a 16-team affair. So, will Nanda, who ran the 200m in the Rio Olympics, be considered for the relay team?

“The AFI will go by its set rules that it has always followed. If it fits in, she goes. Rules are same for all,” Adille Sumariwalla, the federation president, told The Hindu on Sunday evening.

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Sumariwalla also confirmed that Neeraj Chopra had left for France. The Asian Games javelin throw champion, who had been waiting to fly out for the last few days, took an early morning flight.

Another bunch of athletes, including the sprint and mile relay runners and a few throwers, will be leaving for Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday.

Jisna Mathew, a member of the 4x400m mixed relay team which finished seventh at the 2019 Doha World Championships and thus qualified for the Olympics, will not be joining the bunch to Kyrgyzstan. “Jisna had missed a few training sessions because of a back issue a few weeks ago. She is just coming into form now. It will be better if she skips the meet in Kygryzstan on June 12 and 13. That is why she is not going,” said P.T. Usha, her coach.

“She will be in full form by the time of the inter-State meet (in Patiala, from June 25).”

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