Qualification on athletes' mind

Qualification on athletes' mind

Many big names might be missing from action but for those who have journeyed to one of Indian sport’s main training centres, Olympic qualification will be the main aim as the Federation Cup athletics  championships get under way on Saturday.

Nine athletes have made the grade for the London Games and none of them will be seen in action here, with training programmes either at home or abroad keeping them away.

More are expected to qualify before the deadline expires on July 8 for individual events and a clearer picture of where those aspirants stand will emerge in the next few days here.

Among the main contenders is Asian Games champion Joseph Abraham. The national record-holder in the 400M has shown good form in the two Indian Grand Prix meets and expressed the hope that he will be able to reach the standard of 49.80 seconds.

“If the weather stays good, I should be able to do well,” said Abraham, referring to the windy conditions. It even drizzled for a while and that could pose a problem or two. “The track is also pretty loose and it takes extra effort to produce a good time,” added Abraham.

Competition for Abraham should come from his Railway team-mate Jithin Paul, who had beaten his more famous rival in the second Indian Grand Prix, clocking a personal best of 50.44 seconds.

Renjith Maheswary in triple jump is another aspirant who is looking forward to this meet. Renjith came up with a 16.70M effort, his best in two seasons, in the second Indian Grand Prix at the same venue and said he was in good shape to launch a strong bid for the mark of 16.85.

Sourabh Vij, after his big heave of 19.80M in the first Indian Grand Prix, will also have his eyes on the qualifying mark in shot put, where Om Prakash Singh has already attained the ‘B’ standard of 20.00 metres.

In the women’s events, the absence of Mayookha Johny and Tintu Luka will be glaring, with both opting to focus on their training. In Mayookha’s absence, M A Prajusha will be the favourite in long jump and triple jump.

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