Tokyo 2020: AFI names Revathi, Subha, Dhanalakshmi in mixed relay team; 26-member team announced

The AFI announced a 26-member team for the Tokyo Olympics athletics events which start on July 31.

Dhanalakshmi (328, red) winning the women's 100m at the recent National inter-State athletics championship in Patiala.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The absence of the seasoned M.R. Poovamma, who won the 400m gold in five of the six meets this year, and the inclusion of Tamil Nadu's S. Dhanalakshmi in the 4x400m mixed relay squad were the big surprises in the 26-member Indian athletics team for this month's Tokyo Olympics which was announced on Monday.

Poovamma, the 400m silver medallist with 53.54s at last week's inter-State Nationals, was assured of a berth in the mixed 4x400m relay but surprisingly, the Karnataka athlete left the national camp and went back home.

READ | Revathi wins women's 400m trials, Dhanalakshmi finishes third

“[Her] back is bad,” Adille Sumariwalla, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president, told Sportstar about the Poovamma issue.

Meanwhile Dhanalakshmi, the inter-State National and Federation Cup 100m champion who had been hoping to go to the Olympics through the women's 4x100m relay, got a surprise Tokyo ticket in the 4x400m mixed relay after finishing third in the 400m trials in Patiala on Sunday.

Kerala's V.K. Vismaya and Jisna Mathew, who were coming back from injuries, are the big names missing from the squad. The two had helped India qualify for the Olympics by finishing seventh in the mixed event at the 2019 Doha World championships but were in mediocre form this year.

File picture of V. Revathi.   -  G. Moorthy


“We are happy that it is a well prepared team, physically and emotionally, for the Olympic Games. The world has been through a lot and athletes have been challenged to stay in good shape, retain form and in good spirits,” said Sumariwalla.

“We are pleased that our athletes have remained in training ever since lockdown was lifted,” he said.

He said it was significant that as many as 12 individual athletes and the 4x400m mixed relay team had attained the entry standards, laid down by World Athletics, to secure automatic berths.

Dutee Chand (women’s 100m and 200m), M.P. Jabir (men’s 400m hurdles), Gurpreet Singh (men’s 50km race walk) and Annu Rani (women’s javelin throw) were assured of entries on the strength of their Road to Tokyo rankings.

Athletics in Tokyo begins on July 31.

The squad:

Men: Avinash Sable (300m Steeplechase); MP Jabir (400m Hurdles): M Sreeshankar (Long Jump); Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Shot Put); Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh (Javelin Throw]; KT Irfan, Sandeep Kumar and Rahul Rohilla (20km Walk) and Gurpreet Singh (50km Walk); 4x400m Relay: Amoj Jacob, Arokia Rajiv, Muhammed Anas, Naganathan Pandi, Noah Nirmal Tom; 4x400m Mixed Relay: Sarthak Bhambri, Alex Antony

Women: Dutee Chand (100m and 200m); Kamalpreet Kaur and Seema Antil-Punia (Discus Throw) and Annu Rani (Javelin Throw); Bhawna Jat and Priyanka Goswami (20km Walk) and (Mixed 4x400m Relay): Revathi Veeramani, Subha Venkatesan & Dhanlakshmi Sekhar.


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