Inter-State meet to kick off today

The 63rd National Inter-State athletics championships, beginning here on Tuesday, will give definite indications on the shape of the Indian team for the Asian Championships in Pune next month.

With the Asian Championships venue undecided till a few days back, the athletes weren’t clear about the way forward.

Moreover, there was doubts over the readiness of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium as well, with a new track being laid at the venue.

But the fears were brushed aside during last week, with the Tamil Nadu Athletics Association announcing that they were all set to host the event, for the ninth time.
The Nehru Stadium, originally scheduled to host the Asian meet, has undergone renovation work, with the State government extending full financial support.

A host of national champions, record-holders and international medallists will be seen in action in the four-day meet. According to the preliminary entry lists, as many as 33 defending champions are returning to defend their titles.

Apart from clinching a spot in the Indian team for the Asian meet, a clutch of athletes will also look to meet the qualifying standards for the World Championships at Moscow in August.

Leading that pack will be Krishna Poonia in women’s discus, Tintu Luka in women’s 800 metres and Renjith Maheswary in men’s triple jump.

Krishna has had a lacklustre season so far while Tintu too was unable to come close to her best in her only outing -- the Diamond League meet in Shanghai.

Renjith and Arpinder Singh have come close to the World Championships standard and will look to go further in Chennai.

Another Olympian, men’s discus thrower Vikas Gowda, will not be in action here. Gowda, who has already qualified for the Worlds, had competed in the Diamond League in Eugene on Saturday.

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