Altogether, 11 of the 51 selected athletes named by Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for the upcoming Asian Games will have to go through confirmatory trials on August 15 and 16 in order to make it to the final squad for the quadrennial event.
Naming only 23 men and 28 women in the squad, the AFI showed the maturity by not filling all the 102 slots. The federation made it clear on Tuesday that 11 athletes, including two men, will have to give the test again.
“Only those athletes who were not in coaching camps will have to give confirmatory trials. However, as announced earlier, the 4x400m relay team will consist of only those athletes who were in the national coaching camps. The athletes, such as Neeraj Chopra and Seema Punia, who were exempted in advance from attending the final selection trials (the national inter-state championships in Guwahati) will not be attending the confirmatory trials,” said AFI president Adille Sumariwalla.
Effectively, quartermiler Nirmala Sheoran, who trained at an undisclosed location, has not been picked in the 4x400m relay team even after clocking her personal best of 51.25 and coming second in Guwahati.
It will be interesting to see whether the AFI, which wants to stay clear of any possible controversy related to doping, has a change of heart after the confirmatory trials.
Asked how discus thrower Seema Punia, who also has been training on her own, has been exempted from going through the confirmatory test, AFI secretary C.K. Valson said: “Seema recently won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games. Neeraj (javelin thrower) too won gold in the CWG. That’s why they have been exempted from any trials.”
Tintu Luka, the defending champion in women’s 800m, who skipped the inter-state meet due to an injury, has been given a chance to make it to the squad.
The AFI has to negotiate with the Asian Games organising committee and find a way to accommodate discus thrower Sandeep Kumari and high jumper B. Chethan, whose names did not figure in the list of athletes for accreditation, in case they clear the test in mid-August.
Marathoner T. Gopi, who clocked a personal best of 2:15:16 in the IDBI marathon in Delhi in February, was close to the AFI qualifying mark of 2:13:21 but could not make the cut. “He was close but not in recent times,” said Valson.
About 10 athletes who did not reach the qualifying mark have been cleared.
Nirmala Sheoran has not been picked in the 4x400m relay team even after clocking a personal best of 51.25 in Guwahati.
The Athletics Team:
100m: Dutee Chand, 200m: Hima Das, Dutee Chand; 400m: Hima Das, Nirmala (Subject to confirmatory trial)
800m: Tintu Luka (Subject to confirmatory trial); 1500m: PU Chitra, Monika Chaudhary (Subject to confirmatory trial); 5000m: Sanjivani Jadhav, L Surya; 10000m: Sanjivani Jadhav, L Surya; 400m Hurdles: Juana Murmu (Subject to confirmatory trial), Anu Raghvan (Subject to confirmatory trial)
3000m SC: Sudha Singh, Chinta Yadav; Long Jump: Nayana James (Subject to confirmatory trial), Neena Varakkil Pinto (Subject to confirmatory trial)
20km Race Walk: Sowmya B, Khushbir Kaur; Heptathalon: Swapna Barman, Purnima Hembram; Discus Throw: Seema Poonia, Sandeep Kumari (Subject to confirmatory trial); Hammer Throw: Sarita Singh; Javelin Throw: Annu Rani (Subject to confirmatory trials); 4x400m Relay: M R Poovamma, Saritaben Gaikwad, Sonia Vaishya, Vijayakumari, V K Vismaya, Jisna Matthew
200m: Mohammed Anas; 400m: Mohammed Anas, Rajiv Arokia; 800m: Jinson Johnson, Manjit Singh; 1500m: Jinson Johnson, Manjit Singh; 5000m: G Lakshmanan; 10000m: G Lakshmanan; 400m Hurdles: Dharun Ayyasamy, Santosh Kumar; 3000m SC: Naveen Kumar Dagar, Shankarlal Swami; High Jump: Chetan B (Subject to confirmatory trial); Long Jump: Sreeshankar; Triple Jump: Arpinder Singh, Rakesh Babu; Shot Put: Tejinder Toor, Naveen Chikara (Subject to confirmatory trial); Javelin Throw: Neeraj Chopra, Shivpal Singh; 20km Race Walk: Manish Singh Rawat, K T Irfan; 50km Race Walk: Sandeep Kumar; 4x400m Relay: Mohammed Anas, Jeevan KS, Jithu Baby, Kunhu Mohammed, Rajiv Arokia, Santosh Kumar; Mixed 400m Relay: Mohammed Anas, Rajiv Arokia, Hima Das, Poovamma.
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