Tokyo Olympics: Priya Mohan left out of relay team

She is just 18 and the country’s fastest quartermiler this year but Priya H. Mohan will not be a part of the 4x400m mixed relay team at this month’s Tokyo Olympics.

Priya Mohan has been the country’s fastest quartermiler this year.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

She is just 18 and the country’s fastest quartermiler this year but Priya H. Mohan will not be a part of the 4x400m mixed relay team at this month’s Tokyo Olympics.

Priya shocked all the national campers, including stars like M.R. Poovamma, V.K. Vismaya and Jisna Mathew, to win the women’s 400m at the recent inter-State Nationals in Patiala.

Hit by injuries and unable to travel abroad for competitions, the national campers were in poor form this season and the women’s mile relay team even failed to qualify for Tokyo.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is now racking its brain to put together a decent team for the mixed relay for which India qualified for Tokyo from the 2019 Doha Worlds after finishing seventh.

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But the AFI has decided to stick to its stand that only national campers will be in the relay team.

“What is the published rule of AFI? On the basis of which AFI won a case in the Supreme Court...,” said AFI president Adille Sumariwalla on Saturday when asked whether non-campers like Priya would be picked for the relay team.

Having learnt some bitter lessons after India lost its 4x400m relay gold from the 2017 Bhubaneswar Asians after 400m champion Nirmala Sheoran failed dope tests in 2018 (her four-year suspension was backdated), the AFI came up with a strict ‘campers only for international relays’ policy a few years ago.

Trials

The AFI plans to conduct trials in Patiala in a day or two to finalise the relay team for Tokyo. “May be some internal trials... for fitness,” explained the AFI chief.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Athletics Association secretary A. Raja Velu confirmed that Priya had reached Bengaluru after the Nationals.

“The relay is a team event and the baton exchange training is very important so I don't know what decision the selection committee will take. The federation had called her several times for the national camp but she did not go,” said Raja Velu.

“But I will be sending a mail (to the AFI) today to consider her case. I will have to fight for my athlete."

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