Vikas set to compete in Asian Athletics Championships

“Vikas will be taking part,” Radhakrishnan Nair, the Deputy National Coach, told Sportstar on Monday night. “The series of incidents must have been very demoralising for Vikas.”

The AFI Secretary C.K. Valson also indicated that Vikas could get the green flag to compete after all.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Three years ago, despite throwing with a severe shoulder pain, Vikas Gowda came up with a silver at the Asian Games in Incheon. The next year, the discus throw national record holder was close to his best as he struck gold at the Asian Athletics Championships at Wuhan.

Now, with just a couple of days for the curtains to go up for the Asians, Vikas has been put in a very awkward situation. With the Mysuru man producing a mediocre 57.79m throw in Sunday’s trials, the news going around was that he may not be allowed to compete.

But there was a positive turn to the series of events on Monday. “Vikas will be taking part,” Radhakrishnan Nair, the Deputy National Coach, told Sportstar on Monday night. “The series of incidents must have been very demoralising for Vikas.”

Meanwhile, the AFI Secretary C.K. Valson also indicated that Vikas could get the green flag to compete after all.

“We have sent Vikas’ case to the selectors, most probably he will be in,” he said.

LONG LIST OF HONOURS

Vikas, who trains in the U.S. and who will be 34 on July 5, has been one of the India’s finest throwers ever and the country has often looked up to the giant to deliver at the majors. He is the Commonwealth Games champion, a two-time Asian Championships gold medallist, was in the top 10 at the last three World Championships and at the 2012 London Olympics finished a creditable eighth.

Incidentally, Vikas threw an impressive 62.35m at a meet in Chula Vista in the US last month. That makes him one of the top three Asians in the world list this year.

The two Asians above him, Iran’s Asian record-holder Ehsan Hadadi (62.64m) and Malaysia’s Mohammed Irfan (62.55) are not very far from Vikas. That makes the Indian a contender for a medal, even a gold perhaps, at Bhubaneswar. Incidentally, all the three are yet to make the cut for this August’s World Championships in London.

Vikas was probably paying for the price for not revealing the extent of the shoulder and knee injuries he suffered last year. After qualifying for the Olympics early in 2015, he was lying low for the whole of last season and came up with a poor performance at Rio.

Vikas may not be at his best now but he can still be a force to reckon with and author a happy ending to the story.