Spotlight on Chopra in Indian Grand Prix

Spotlight on Chopra in Indian Grand Prix

Spotlight on Chopra in Indian Grand Prix

Javelin throw  champion Neeraj Chopra will be the cynosure as the domestic athletics season kicks off with the  first Indian Grand Prix here on Tuesday.

It is an important season for Indian athletes with the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games scheduled in the year. The Commonwealth Games is in April and it remains to be seen whether the athletes are ready to strike form so early in the season.

Chopra, who returned recently after a training stint under Werner Daniels in Germany, had thrown 82.80 metres in a competition in Offenburg, winning silver. If the Athletics Federation of India accepts that mark, he has already met the selection guideline for the Commonwealth Games.  

Chopra, who is now training under former world record holder Uwe Hohn here, will be in a field of 129 competitors who have entered in the season-opener. The Indian Grand Prix will be a preparatory meet for those aiming for CWG qualification, with the Federation Cup in March first week serving as the final qualifier.

While this is the first domestic meet, several of the athletes are in  good form,
having competed in prior international events. Sprinter Elakiya Dasan is fresh off a bronze medal at the Asian Indoor Championships in Tehran in January and  subsequently another bronze at the Asian Games Test event in Jakarta.

In the latter  event, he had clocked 10.31 seconds which is the fastest time run by an Indian outside the country. He will be challenged by Amiya Mallick who holds the national record of 10.26 seconds. Mallick has been training in the USA for the past one month.

Other athletes to watch out for are long jumper Nayana James, who claimed a silver at the Asian Indoor Championships and a bronze at the Asian Championship,  shot putter Tejinder Pal Toor and national record
holder and defending Asian 400M champion Mohammad Anas.

Amongst the youngsters to keep an eye on is 18-year-old Hima Das who clocked an impressive personal best of 23.59 seconds in the women's 200M at the Asian Games test event.  The time was the second-fastest by an Under-20 athlete this year.

While Das will only be running the 100M in Patiala, she would be keen to make a mark at that event too. Due to fewer entries, women's shot put and discus throw and men's high jump have been dropped from the competition.

Events: Men: 100M, 400M, 800M, 3000M, 400M hurdles, shot put, long jump, triple jump, discus throw.

Women: 100M, 400M, 800M, long jump, triple jump, javelin.


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