Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will headline a 22-member Indian athletics team at the World Athletics Championships to be held in Eugene, USA from July 15 to 24. The selected team includes 17 men and five women athletes. (More Sports News)
Race walker Bhawana Jat and veteran discus thrower Seema Punia has withdrawn from the elite championships. Just like Bhawana, Seema gave the event a miss as she too wanted to focus on the Commonwealth Games, an event where she bagged medals in the last four editions.
“She wants to concentrate on the Commonwealth Games, where she won four medals. She feels she has better chance there and we also feel the same,” Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adilee Sumariwala said while announcing the team. Besides Chopra and Rohit Yadav is the other javelin thrower in the team.
3000m steeplechaser Avinash Sable, shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor, long jumpers Murali Sreeshankar and Muhammed Anees Yahiya, triple jump trio of Abdulla Aboobacker, Praveen Chithravel and Eldhose Paul, all of whom have qualified, Sandeep Kumar (20km Race Walking), MP Jabir (400m Hurdles), Noah Nirmal Tom, Muhammed Ajmal, Naganathan Pandi, Rajesh Ramesh and Muhammed Anas Yahiya (4x400m) have found a place in the team.
The squad also includes Amoj Jacob (4x400m) but his participation is subject to fitness. In case he is not fit, Arokia Rajiv will replace him in the relay squad. Among women, S Dhanalakhsmi (200m), Aishwarya Kailash Mishra (400m), Parul Chaudhary (3000m Steeplechase), Annu Rani (Javelin Throw) and Priyanka Goswami (20km Walk) have made the cut.
The only surprises in the squad are the inclusion of Parul and Jabir. Jeswin Aldrin, who had already qualified for the championships, however, missed the cut. Aishwarya Mishra, who evaded from dope testing agencies last month but was allowed by AFI to compete in National Inter-State Championships, has been selected with a rider.
“She will be subject to trails in 400m and if she qualifies she will go. She will undergo electronics timing as well NADA testing,” Sumariwala said. Asked if she was tested in the National Inter-State Championships, the AFI president said: “As far as I know she was tested.”
On what explanation Mishra gave after evading dope tests, Sumariwala said: “She went to visit her ailing grandmother and lost her phone. That was her explanation.” Sumariwala said the team will head to Chula Vista, California for a short stint before heading to Eugene for the event.
“The team has been selected on the basis of world ranking and qualification standards laid down by the World Athletics,” he said. “The team will leave for Chula Vista soon where it will have a short stint before World Championships.”
The contingent will depart for the USA in three batches with the first group scheduled to leave on Saturday, followed by the next on Monday and the third and final by July 5. The decision to send the team in batches was taken due to time taken for getting US visa.
Indian athletics chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair informed that 11 visas have already been granted and the next set of interviews are lined up for Friday.
Men: Avinash Sable (3000m Steeplechase), MP Jabir (400m Hurdles), M Sreeshankar and Muhammed Anees Yahiya (Long Jump), Abdulla Aboobacker, Praveen Chithravel and Eldhose Paul (Triple Jump), Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Shot Put), Neeraj Chopra and Rohit Yadav (Javelin Throw), Sandeep Kumar (20km Race Walking), Amoj Jacob*, Noah Nirmal Tom, Muhammed Ajmal, Naganathan Pandi, Rajesh Ramesh and Muhammed Anas Yahiya (4x400m).
Women: S Dhanalakhsmi (200m), Aishwarya Kailash Mishra (400m), Parul Chaudhary (3000m Steeplechase), Annu Rani (Javelin Throw) and Priyanka Goswami (20km Walk).