Elite athletes get another shot for Olympic qualification via Indian Grand Prix 4 on June 21

Hima and Dutee, who are yet to qualify for the Olympics, were to be a part of the 4x100m women's relay team, which was earlier planned events to be held in the two Central Asian countries.

Published: 09th June 2021 08:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th June 2021 11:57 PM   |  A+A-

Sprinter Hima Das (L) and Dutee Chand

Sprinter Hima Das (L) and Dutee Chand (File photo)

Express News Service

As expected, India elite athletes will not leave for competition in Kyrgyzstan and even Kazakhstan. The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is still trying, but it looks unlikely.  As reported by The New Indian Express, there was uncertainty over the trips because of logistical issue due to restrictions arising out of the recent virus outbreak in the India.

The AFI, not keen on athletes spending 14-day quarantine and break their training regimen, felt prudent to not send the teams to Bishkek. Instead, the AFI has announced the date for the Indian Grand Prix 4 in Patiala on June 21.

It will be followed by inter-state senior nationals on June 25-29. This means Indian athletes including shot putter Tajinder Pal Singh Toor, the 4x100m women's team would be looking to attain the Olympic qualifying standard during these meets.

AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said the federation is trying for Kazakhstan. The Indian GP would be a closed-door meet among select athletes. The AFI chief said that because of restrictions and fear of exposing athletes to COVID, the federation would hold the meet only among the national campers in select events.

Another reason is they don't want to open Patiala centre for outsiders. "We will focus on only those events where our athletes have already qualified or have a chance to qualify," he said. The AFI president also said that the 4x400m men and women's relay would be held only during inter-state. "We have to wait for the final calendar but it would be held then," Sumariwalla added.

Tajinder has dropped from 29 to 30 on Road to Tokyo list with the top-32 qualifying. With the season in most continents buzzing, there is real threat to his qualification chances if he doesn't attain the qualifying standard of 21.10 m.

The shot putter is injury-free and is expecting to throw his best in the next two meets before the qualification period ends on June 29. Besides Tajinder, the focus will be on the 4x100m women's relay.

Interestingly, the AFI is planning to send athletes abroad after the qualifications are over. "After the final selections are over we will try and send our athletes abroad for competitions. Up to now we have been looking at is competitions and qualifying. Once they are qualified, we will try and send them abroad. Athletics only starts around July 30. We have the whole month and hope things would open up and we will get them one or two competitions before the Olympics," Sumariwala said.

IGP 4 events

Men: 400m, 1500m, long jump, triple jump, shot put, javelin throw and 400m hurdles

Women: 100m, 200m, 400m, 1500m, 5000m, discus throw, javelin throw and 4x100m relay

India Matters


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