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Ashwini ready to run relay trials

New Delhi, July 12, 2013, PTI:

Quartermiler Ashwini Akkunji, who early this month completed her two-year ban period for a doping offence, is contemplating to run in the women’s 4x400m relay trials on July 19 for a place in the Indian quartet for next month’s World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

India had qualified for the women’s 4x400m relay race for the World Championships after winning gold in the Asian Athletics Championships in Pune early this month.

The trials will be held at NIS Patiala on July 19 and the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) selection committee will meet on July 20 to finalise the Indian squad.

Akkunji, who had won 400M hurdles and 4x400M relay gold in the 2010 Asian Games, told PTI from her training base at NIS Patiala that she will decide whether to take part in the trials or not in the next couple of days.

“I am eligible for the trials and I have been continuing training. So I can run. Let us see,” she said.

“I have a slight niggle on my legs though it is part and parcel of an athlete’s training module. I will take a final decision in the next couple of days,” she added.

It is learnt that the trials would be mainly to pick two runners as India’s current best quartermilers MR Poovamma and Anu Mariam Jose, who were part of the Asian Championships gold-winning quartet, are automatic choices.

“Two members of the quartet Poovamma and Mariam Jose are automatic picks. They are the current best. We are looking for the two remaining slots in the trials,” AFI Director M L Dogra said.

“The likes of Akkunji can take part. The objective is we want to produce a good performance in women’s 4x400M relay. We have been dominant in Asia in this event,” he said.

Luka, P T Usha’s trainee has also indicated that she would be running the 400M as well, apart from her main event, the 800M, where she won a bronze at the recent Asian Athletics Championships.


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