Top athletes likely to skip second leg of Indian GP

The only decent field is likely to be in the 100m sprints with all three medallists from both the first leg of the event and the Federation Cup in Delhi competing. NIS is in the process of laying a new track and the event would be held on what normally is used for training. So new records are unlikely.

Only the 100m sprint is likely to feature top Indian athletes.   -  SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

The second leg of the Indian Grand Prix athletics, to be held at the National Institute of Sports here on Friday, would be the third Rio Olympics qualification event in 10 days but not too many big names are expected to turn up with injuries and fatigue being equally responsible.

The only decent field is likely to be in the 100m sprints with all three medallists from both the first leg of the event and the Federation Cup in Delhi competing. Dutee Chand, who missed the Olympic mark by one hundredth of a second, Srabani Nanda and H.M. Jothi would all be in action though they agree that coming so close again so soon would not be possible.

“It takes time for the body to recover but there has been none. Medals don't matter now, timing does and we will try our best to push ahead. But it won't be easy. If it happens, great but we are confident of doing it later also,” both Srabani and Dutee concur.

New records unlikely

Also, the NIS is in the process of laying a new track and the event, therefore, would be held on what normally is used for training. “This is not ideal for competition so qualification marks or even new records are highly unlikely,” both the athletes and officials admit.

Only one qualification mark has been achieved so far this season — Sudha Singh in the 3000m steeplechase – even though she had already booked a Rio ticket in marathon. Four new National Records were also created at the Federation Cup but despite favourable weather conditions here, any new mark is unlikely.

Among the prominent absentees would be Lalita Babar and Sudha Singh, both having already qualified in the 3000m steeplechase and concentrating on improving their performances at the upcoming Shanghai Diamond League, to be held on May 14, instead. Their entries were sent by the AFI after the Fed Cup.

Injuries have also ruled on O.P. Jaisha in the 1500m and Mayookha Johnny in the triple jump. While Jaisha has qualified for Rio in the marathon, she was keen on making the grade in the 1500m instead but complained of ankle injury after the previous meet while Mayookha twisted her ankle during the Federation Cup last week.

Jumpers Ankit Sharma and Premkumar Kumaravel, back from their training stint in South Africa, would be hoping to improve on their performances at the Federation Cup and qualify for Rio. The qualifying standard is 8.15m and both jumpers have jumps over 8m against their names even though they haven't crossed the mark for a while now.

Similarly, triple jumper Arpinder Singh disappointed in his first competition after training abroad in the US and UK for almost a year and, in the absence of Renjith Maheshwary, would be hoping to redeem himself.

Among the field events, Krishna Punia would be in action in what is likely to be her last meet at home this season before travelling to USA for training and competitions till the end of June. Krishna, who returned to action after a two-year break during the Delhi leg, is confident of achieving the mark by then.

Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, also suffering from a muscle strain, is unlikely to participate though shot-putter Tejinder Pal Singh, who surprised everyone by winning gold in Delhi with an impressive throw of 19.93m, is confident of bettering his mark. Inderjeet Singh, who has already qualified for Rio, would also be present, as would be javelin thrower Annu Rani among the women.

List of events:

Men: 100m, 400m, 1500m, 5000m, 400m hurdles, triple jump, long jump, shot put, discus throw, javelin throw.

Women: 100m, 400m, 1500m, 5000m, long jump, triple jump, discus throw, javelin throw.