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Ashwini mulls taking part in relay trials

The trial will be held at NIS Patiala on July 20 and the Athletics Federation of India selection committee will meet on the next day to finalise the Indian squad.

Published: 16th July 2013 07:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th July 2013 07:43 AM   |  A+A-

Ashwini-Mulls

Quarter-miler Ashwini Akkunji, who earlier this month completed her two-year ban for a doping offence, is contemplating running in the 4x400m relay trials for a place in the Indian quartet for next month’s World Athletics Championships to be held in Moscow.

India qualified for the women’s 4x400m race after winning gold in the Asian Athletics Championships in Pune earlier this month. The trial will be held at NIS Patiala on July 20 and the Athletics Federation of India selection committee will meet on the next day to finalise the Indian squad.

Akkunji, who won 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay gold in the 2010 Asian Games, said she will decide whether to take part in the trials in the next couple of days.

“I am eligible for the trials and I have been training. I have a slight niggle in my legs though it is part and parcel of an athlete’s training. I will take a decision in the next couple of days,” she said.

“Two members of the quartet, Poovamma and Mariam Jose, are automatic picks. We are looking for the two remaining slots,” AFI Director ML Dogra said. His statement can be viewed as a hint that the AFI wants to replace Tintu Luka and Nirmala, who were part of the team in Pune, with better candidates.

In the Asian Championships in Pune, 800m runner Tintu Luka was included in the relay squad a day before the race after AFI’s request for the inclusion of Akkunji was turned down.

But it seems the coaches in the Patiala national camp are unaware of AFI’s decision and are of the view that the selection should be done only to fill the reserve slots.

“The selection will be held to pick two more athletes. We have four weeks for preparation. The final four will be announced on the basis of form and two others will be kept as reserves. So far we haven’t thought of replacing the gold-winning quartet of Nirmala, Anu Mariam Jose, Tintu Luka and MR Poovamma. They are likely to remain unchanged,” a national coach told TNIE.



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