CHENNAI: The second Indian Grand Prix athletics meet in Patiala might turn into a sumptuous contest between two athletes — Dutee Chand and Hima Das. The former is the fastest woman in India and the other, Hima, would be trying to topple her from the coveted throne. The two names have been entered in the 100m start list for the event on February 25.
Hima had won gold at the World Junior championships in 400m and is also the national record holder.
After a long wait, Hima is expected to be back. Her absence has been quite intriguing after she pulled out of the Asian Athletics Championships in April, 2019 at Doha. She had been recovering ever since and except for a few mediocre meets, she did not compete much in 2019, especially in her pet 400m. India’s national chief coach Radhakrshnan Nair had revealed in an interview with The New Indian Express that she would be competing only in 100m and 200m this season. Interestingly, she has entered in 200m where only two other athletes feature. Dutee is not running 200m.
According to a top AFI official, the Indian GP 2 would see more top athletes competing. Though majority of the athletes are national campers, there are few athletes who are arriving from different states. For example long Jumper, Shreeshankar M, is flying in with an RT-PCR test result on Tuesday. “It’s over 15 months since I competed and I am excited,” said the national record holder. “I would be competing in the IGP-2 and return to Pallakad where I have been training and return for IGP-3 and then again for Fed Cup.”
With the Olympics in mind, Shreeshankar expects a good jump in the first three events he is competing. “I am optimistic and feel will achieve good distance at the IGP-3 or the Federation Cup,” he said.
“By May, when we are expected to compete abroad, I am hoping to do well and will concentrate on the Olympics. I hope to qualify soon.”
As reported by this newspaper, shot putter Tejinder Pal Toor too will be participating on February 25. His last event was at the World Military Games in October 2019.