Three Indian athletes qualify for Rio under revised standards

Three Indian athletes qualify for Rio under revised standards

Three Indian athletes qualify for Rio under revised standards

Three Indian athletes, including ace discus thrower Vikas Gowda, have qualified for the Rio Olympics after the world governing body of the sport, the IAAF lowered the entry standards "to have more athletes" taking part in the track and field events in the 2016 Games.

The IAAF Council in its meeting on November 26 had made the changes to the Olympic qualification marks in 17 events with an aim to have more athletes achieving the entry standards and therefore to get closer to the target number of participants.

The earlier qualification standards were issued in April.

Besides Gowda, the other two Indians who have benefitted from the revision of entry standards were Sapna in women's 20km race walk and Nitendra Singh Rawat in men's marathon.

Under the revised qualification standards, the cut off mark for the men's discus throw for Rio Games was lowered from the earlier 66.00 metre to 65.00 metre, which Gowda had crossed in the Jamaican Invitational Athletics Meet in May.

32-year-old Gowda, the reigning Asian champion and 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, had hurled the disc to a distance of 65.14 metres in Kingston while winning the IAAF-approved event on May 9.

Athletics Federation of India Secretary C K Valson confirmed that Gowda has qualified for the Rio Olympics.

"Since the Jamaican event was an IAAF-approved one and it was held after the qualification period starts, Gowda has now qualified for the Rio Olympics. He has crossed the 65.00m entry standard which was revised from the earlier 66.00m," Valson told PTI.

The qualification period for 10,000m, marathon, race walk and combined events runs from January 1, 2015 to July 11, 2016. For all other track and field events, the qualification period runs from May 1, 2015 to July 11, 2016.

National Games champion Sapna made the cut for Rio Games on the basis of her timing of one hour 35 minutes 36 seconds, which she clocked while finishing fourth in this year's Asian 20km Race Walking championships at Nomi City (Japan) on March 15. The entry standard for this event was revised to 1 hour and 36 minutes from earlier 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Rawat, who won the title in Indian Elite Men's section in Delhi half marathon last month, was the third Indian to have qualified for Olympics on the basis of the revised standards.

The Army runner had clocked an impressive 2 hours 18 minutes 6 seconds to finish eighth in the World Military Games in Korea on October 11 and that performance gave him a Rio ticket. The entry standard for this event was revised to 2 hours and 19 minutes from earlier 2 hours and 17 minutes.

As many as 15 Indian athletes (eight men and seven women) have so far attained the Rio Olympic Games qualifications.  

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