AFI looking to add 15 more athletes to its already announced 65-member team for Asian Games

Chandigarh, Sep 9 (PTI) Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is hoping to add 15 more track and field athletes to the 65 already named for the Hangzhou Asian Games if they achieve the qualification criteria during the two-day Indian Grand Prix beginning here on Sunday.

Around half of the athletes named in the Asian Games-bound team have made their entries in the event, though some top athletes and those training abroad will not be seen in action.

“The Indian contingent will be bigger and stronger this time. We have shortlisted 65 athletes and there are chances to add another 15 athletes depending whether they achieve the qualification criteria set by the AFI during the two-day IGP,” Sumariwalla said here.

Those who have made it to the Asian Games and also entered their names here include javelin thrower Kishore Kumar Jena, shot putter Sahib Singh, Jinson Johnson (1500m), Mohammed Afsal (800m), Yashas Palaksha (400m hurdles), Jesse Sandesh (high jump), quarter-milers Arokia Rajiv, Rajesh Ramesh, Nihal Joel William, Rahul Baby, Mijo Chacko Kurian and Amoj Jacob, among men.

The women include, Ancy Sojan (long jump), Manpreet Kaur and Kiran Baliyan (shot put), R Vithya Ramraj and Sinchal Kaveramma (400m hurdles), Chanda (800m), Harmilans Bains (1500m), Tanya Chaudhary and Rachna Kumari (hammer throw), Rubina Yadav (high jump), Sheena N V (triple jump), Seema Punia (discus throw) and quartermilers Himanshi Malik, Florence Barla, Jisna Mathew, Aishwarya Mishra, Subha Venkatesan and Sonia Baishya.

Interestingly, national record holder 100m hurdler Jyothi Yarraji has also entered her name for the 400m race.

The AFI could be looking at whether it should pick the men’s and women’s 4x100m relay teams for the Asian Games.

The men’s and women’s 100m races will be held on Sunday while the 4x100m relay races will be run on Monday as the last two events of the meet.

The Asian Games qualification time for the men’s 4x100m relay set by the AFI is 39 seconds, while 44.50 seconds is for the women’s 4x100m relay race.

Sumariwalla said the Indian track and field contingent will win more medals in Hangzhou than in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games in Indonesia (8 gold, 9 silver, 3 bronze).

The track and field competition begins on September 29 whereas the Hangzhou Games begin on September 23.

“The Indian athletes gave a good account of themselves at the just concluded August 19 to 27 Budapest World Athletics Championships held in Hungary,” said Sumariwalla, who was recently elected as one of the vice presidents of World Athletics.

At the Worlds, three male Indian javelin throwers, including eventual gold winner Neeraj Chopra, featured in the final round. Jena, on his debut, finished fifth, while DP Manu was sixth.

The men’s 4x400m relay team shattered the Asian record.

“Parul Chaudhary (3000m steeplechase) and Ajay Kumar Saroj (1500m) too performed exceptionally well at the Worlds,” AFI president said.

Parul improved the women’s 3000m steeplechase national record to 9:15.31 seconds to also qualify for the 2024 Olympics.

Good performance in the build up to the Asian Games has given a big boost to the confidence of the athletes, he said.

Source: PTI News


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