Aspiring stars have lot at stake

Athletics: State Championships: SAI Southern Centre to witness hectic action


Competitions are to be held in five age-groups -- under-14, U-16, U-18, U-20 and seniors. A crammed schedule is an inevitable off-shoot but that is unlikely to deter the athletes as they fight for places in the State team for the upcoming events.

The South Zone Junior meet at Kochi later this month and the Senior inter-State championships in Ranchi in October are the targets for the athletes as they leave the preparatory phase behind. It has been a tough period, at least for the Bangalore-based athletes, with the Sree Kanteerava stadium unavailable for training because of track relaying work.

“For the last two months, we have been on the road; it has been a struggle,” said noted coach VR Beedu as his wards went through the paces outside the Sree Kanteerava stadium. “But we have to accept it, for it is for something good.”

One of Beedu’s trainees, Nirupama Sunderraj, will be among those coming under the spotlight in the State meet. The 16-year-old student of Ebenezer International School, a gold medal winner in the 4x100 relay at the Commonwealth Youth Games last year, has been training well after her tenth standard exams in March.

“She is really motivated and has been training well. I expect her to come close to her best,” said Beedu, who also has high hopes on Praneetha Pradeep in triathlon and Srishti Sunil in high jump, both gold medallists at the Mysore Junior Nationals last year.

KC Shruthi in 1500 metres, N Arshad in triple jump (U-18) and S Harshith in under-16 high jump are the other youngsters to watch out for. Also in strength will be Alva’s College, Moodbidri, who will be fielding 75 competitors, featuring a clutch of promising athletes including Prajwal (400M), Moinuddin (100M) and Akshatha (long jump), all in the under-20 section.

Canara Bank’s HM Jyothi, who has been in fine form this year, and Corporation Bank’s Poonam Bhojanna head the list in the Senior category which has entries from Railways as well as MEG.

As has become the norm over the last few years, a team of Sri Lankan athletes will be competing in this year’s edition as well. “We are a team of 30, from Colombo and Kandy. We hope to get some good exposure here,” said Padma Mendis, coach and team manager of the Kandy batch.

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