Athletes eye Rio qualification

Athletes eye Rio qualification

Left disheartened by the blackout at the first Indian Grand Prix, the home athletes would once again be stoking their Rio Games aspirations with the Federation Cup Athletics Championships beginning at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Thursday.

The three-day event has received more than 500 entries with qualification berths at stake in 42 events. The competition thus throws open the opportunity for country’s top athletes, who are relying on a series of domestic competitions to fulfil their Olympic dreams.

India’s first woman triple jumper to cross 14 metres, Mayookha Johny, along with six other jumpers, reached here on Tuesday after their 25 days’ stint at Pretoria’s high-altitude centre.

The 2016 Asian Indoor Championships gold medal winner in long jump will be aiming to achieve the 14.15-metre qualification mark in triple jump in order to book her tickets to Rio.

Also eyeing the Olympic berths would be India’s men and women quartermilers. In the women’s section, Asian Games bronze medal winner in the 400M M R Poovamma, Anilda Thomas and Anu Raghavan will be leading the charge. They would need to touch the 52.20 mark to make the Olympic cut.

Also drawing the interest would be PT Usha’s two trainees Tintu Luka, who has already made the Rio grade in the 800M, and Jisna Mathew who would be participating in the 400M. The two will be heading to Europe for a training-cum-competition stint after this meet.

In men’s 400, Mohammed Anas and Asian Games bronze medallist Arokia Rajiv, who has had a successful domestic run last season, would need to clock 45.40 to qualify.

In the men’s javelin throw, favourites Neeraj Chopra is likely to face stiff competition from Vipin Kasana and the experienced Rajinder Singh who returns to action after an injury layoff at the Asian Grand Prix Series in June 2015.

In shot put though Inderjeet Singh has made the grade, he would be participating in the meet following his training stint in the United States.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in men’s triple jump, Arpinder Singh, however, would be eying the qualification mark. He, too, has been training abroad and will need to record 16.85M to qualify.

The focus will also be on Nikolai Snesarev’s trio of middle and long distance runners. The 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist O P Jaisha and 2010 Asian Games gold medallist in 3000M steeplechase Sudha Singh have qualified in marathon but the duo are now concentrating on qualifying for the 1500M and 3000M steeplechase event.

Another prospect, Lalita Babar, holds qualification times for both steeplechase and marathon.

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