‘AFI’s qualification standards for CWG and Asiad tough’

Sanjivani Jadhav, India’s first track athlete to win a medal at the World University Games, is not keen on joining the national camp.

Maharashtra's Sanjivani Jadhav, the first Indian track athlete to win a medal at the World University Games, in Guntur for the 78th National inter-university athletics championship.   -  STAN RAYAN

 

There is a certain simplicity about Sanjivani Jadhav that touches you. The 20-year-old from Nashik in Maharashtra is warm, patient and clear about things.

Sanjivani made history recently when she won the 10,000m silver at the World University Games in Taipei, the first Indian track athlete to do so. She also took the 5000m bronze at the Bhubaneswar Asians in July.

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With the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games lined up next year, Sanjivani has her goals firm and clear. But she has to first clear the Athletics Federation of India’s qualification hurdles for the two majors.

“The qualification timings fixed by the AFI in both the 5000m and 10,000m are very tough, I’m some 35 to 40 seconds away from both,” said Sanjivani in a chat with Sportstar after topping her 5000m heats in the 78th National inter-university athletics championship’s opening day at the Acharya Nagarjuna University here on Tuesday. The day had only heats and qualification rounds.

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“But I think I can make them. The Commonwealth Games (in Australia, in April) will be a tough task but it will help me prepare well for the Asiad (in Indonesia, in August). My chances are better at the Asiad.”

Belarusian Nikolai Snesarev, the National coach for distance runners, has been trying to take the Nashik athlete under his wings but Sanjivani is clear that she wants to stay away. “For the last three years, Nikolai sir has been asking me to join his national camp. But my coach Vijender Singh gives me training according to my body structure, and it is step by step, I am comfortable with it,” she said.

“I fear that if I go to Nikolai’s camp, the load would be too much and I might get injured.”

Not worried

The AFI has brought in a new rule which says that athletes who skip national camps would not be allowed to compete in qualification meets for the CWG and Asian Games. But that does not trouble Sanjivani.

Sanjivani took to sport with wrestling, following her dad’s footsteps, but she moved to athletics for better opportunities.   -  STAN RAYAN

 

“I’m not worried about it. They said something similar before the Asian Championship but no action was taken. There are many others, including Olympians, who are currently training under their personal coaches,” said Sanjivani.

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“And if I qualify, I don’t think the AFI will take a harsh decision to spoil my career.”

Not a surprise

The silver at Taipei was not a surprise. “I was sixth in the 10,000m at the 2015 Universiade in Gwangju (South Korea). I made up my mind then that I would win a medal in the next edition,” she revealed.

“The gold medallist, Kyrgyztan’s Daria Maslova, came to the Universiade directly from the London World Championships, so I knew it would be tough for me but I was expecting the silver medal.”

Start with wrestling

Sanjivani took to sport with wrestling, following her dad’s footsteps.

“I was not very good at academics but our area was good in sport. So my dad, who was also a wrestler like my grandfather, put me in a gym close to my house and told me to try wrestling,” she said.

“And we did a lot of running as part of our wrestling training. That led me to take part in the PYKA National athletics and since I did well, my dad advised me to switch to running since facilities were not good in wrestling. I agreed.

“Athletics was getting popular in our area and Kavita Raut, from Nashik, had also made a mark. And we had read about Vijender Singh in the newspapers, he was very popular and he was coaching in Nashik, so I joined Vijender’s camp.”

Clearly, wrestling’s loss is athletics’ gain.