Quarter-miler Priyanka Panwar has been dropped by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) from the World Championships squad, announced on Tuesday, despite her entry being sent to the organisers in Beijing.
It has been learnt that the AFI selection committee was not in favour of Panwar’s inclusion in the squad. Thus, a fresh trial was conducted by the AFI at Patiala on Monday to gauge Panwar’s preparedness for the marquee event.
The trial was won by Anju Thomas with Panwar coming second clocking a poor timing of 56.4 seconds.
In fact Panwar had been in woeful form and it was shocking that AFI had included her in the Indian 4x400 relay team for the World Championships, starting in Beijing on August 22.
This, despite the fact that she had competed in just one 400M race this season, the Inter-Railway meet last week in Bhopal, where she clocked an unimpressive timing of 58.09 in the heats and had skipped the finals. The 27-year-old also did not take part in the first trials conducted by the AFI for the relay team in Patiala in the first week of this month.
Priyanka’s inclusion came at the cost of Anilda Thomas who is the second best Indian runner on performance this year at the National Games with 52.71seconds. As a result, the 4x400 relay team is now reduced to five members instead of six, comprising Anu Raghavan, M R Poovamma, Debashree Majumdar and Jisna Mathew.
The team will have the services of Tintu Luka who has been chosen for the 800M, but it could find the going tough since Tintu may not be available for the qualification of the relay event in case she qualifies for the 800M final. Both the events are scheduled for Aug 29.
Meanwhile, the 17-member Indian contingent will be participating in nine events in the Championships despite qualifying for 10. Rajinder Singh, who made the IAAF qualification grade in the men’s javelin event, will not be participating due to an injury sustained at the Asian Grand Prix Series in Thailand in June.
The Indian team for the IAAF World Championships will be leaving in batches from different cities as per the itinerary of their events, AFI stated on Tuesday.
The remaining squad includes 20km walkers Gurmeet Singh, Baljinder Singh, Chandan Singh, Khushbir Kaur and Sapna, 50km walkers Sandeep Kumar and Manish Singh Rawat, shotputter Inderjeet Singh, discus thrower Vikas Gowda, marathon runners Lalita Babar (also 3000 steeple chase), OP Jaisha and Sudha Singh.
The famous Bird’s nest Stadium in Beijing is expected to witness around 2,000 athletes from more than 207 countries.