Vismaya playing her cards smartly

With top stars staying away, there could be many vacant spots in relay team ahead of Commonwealth Games.

This is probably the perfect time for Vismaya, who has a personal best of 53.67s, to make her entry in the national scene.   -  STAN RAYAN

After an impressive run at the varsities’ Nationals in Guntur late last year, V.K. Vismaya is playing her moves smartly these days.

With many top stars, including Asian 400m champion Nirmala Sheoran, still staying away from the national camp, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has now invited talented Kerala quarter milers Vismaya and Jerin Joseph, the silver and bronze medallists at the varsities Nationals behind international Jisna Mathew, to the camp.

And Vismaya has grabbed the invite with both hands.

“I will be joining the national camp soon and Jerin will be joining too,” Assumption College’s Vismaya, who is now being mentored by Kerala Sports Council coach Vinay Chandran, told Sportstar on Wednesday evening.

“I’ve never been to the national camp, never run an individual event at the senior Nationals but I want to do something this year, I want to do the big ones. I think I can go below 53s this season.”

PERFECT TIME

This is probably the perfect time for Vismaya, who has a personal best of 53.67s, to make her entry in the national scene.

There is a very interesting situation developing in Indian athletics and despite the AFI’s many threats to exclude them from selection meets – the Federation Cup in Patiala from March 5 to 8 ahead of this April’s Commonwealth Games in Australia will be the first such meet this year – if they did not join the camp, the relay stars have stubbornly stuck to their stand and stayed away.

“The AFI had sent us a mail a few weeks ago that we would not be allowed to do the selection meets if we do not join the national camp but we have not heard anything from it after that,” said Olympian Anilda Thomas who, like international Anu Raghavan and Asian men’s 400m champion Muhammed Anas have not joined the national camp and are training under Kerala Sports Council coach P.B. Jaikumar in Thiruvananthapuram, on Wednesday.

“Nirmala and M.R. Poovamma have not joined the camp too. But I am ready, Anu too is in good form, we will run in the Indian Grand Prix (in Patiala later this month) and the Federation Cup and then see,” said Anilda.

With Olympian Tintu Luka yet to regain full fitness after being laid low with dengue fever at the Asian Championship in Bhubaneswar last July and former junior international Shaharbana Sidhique removed from the national camp and P.T. Usha’s School of Athletics “for unauthorised absence”, there could even be three vacant berths in the Indian relay team for the Commonwealth Games if the AFI keeps away camp-duckers from the national side.