Vikas, Inderjeet carry India hopes

Tintu Luka looks to clock Olympic qualification time

Vikas, Inderjeet carry India hopes
For years, Vikas Gowda has been the lone Indian parading his skills in men’s field events at the World Championships. This time, he will have another big man for company.

Inderjeet Singh, tall and strong, will be Vikas’ team-mate, albeit in different events. Discus thrower Vikas will be competing in his fifth World Championships while shot-putter Inderjeet is making his debut.

Contrasting personalities, the two have one common goal – seeking excellence on the world stage. With sheer perseverance, Vikas has managed to gain a toehold on the elite list of throwers, finishing seventh in the last two World Championships (Moscow 2013 and Daegu 2011) and eighth at the 2012 Olympic Games. Inderjeet has similar ambitions but has a long way to go.

Vikas’ main aim in Beijing will be to affirm his place in that top list, led by Piotr Malachowski of Poland with a season’s best of 68.29M throw. The Indian’s best of 65.75 this season gives him the 16th place among the 33 who have entered here. Robert Harting, the three-time champion, is absent due to injury while his brother Chrisoph figures prominently with a 67.93M effort.

The action on the field do not pan out as per the season’s lists and Vikas will be hoping to make a mark again, first on qualification day (Aug 27) and in the final two days later. The 32-year-old has had a busy season, taking part in 12 competitions, but the results haven’t been to his liking all along. After three throws over 65 metres in early season, Vikas has hovered around the 63M mark. The two-time Asian champion need to do more if he has to climb higher.

Inderjeet, after eight straight gold medals this year, will face tougher tests at the Bird’s Nest when he lines up for the qualifying round on Sunday. The 27-year-old World University Games champion, with a season’s best of 20.65, needs to be at the top of his game from the start.

American Joe Kovacs (22.56M) and Germany’s two-time champion David Storl (22.20) head the entry lists. Placed 21st, Inderjeet’s task is cut out. “My main aim is to do my personal best,” he said the other day. How far will that take him will be known on Sunday. Women’s 800M runner Tintu Luka is the other prominent Indian entry. Starved of competitions, the Asian champion is in good enough form to do her best, according to her coach P T Usha. If she achieves that, it would mean a time below 2 minutes and an Olympic qualification time.

The three entrants in marathon – O P Jaisha, Sudha Singh and Lalita Babar – are unlikely to cause a ripple while Lalita, the Asian champion in 3000M steeplechase with a 9:34.13, can be expected to raise her level by a notch or two in that event. India also have a healthy presence in all the three race walks but no hopes of a strong showing.
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