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Gowda, Arpinder, Luka in Asian Games athletics team

New Delhi: Strong medal prospects Arpinder Singh, Vikas Gowda and Tintu Luka were today named in a 56-member Indian athletics team, which included 30 women, for next month's Asian Games in South Korea. 110m hurdler Siddhanth Thingalaya, who won gold in the just-concluded Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships with a national record-equalling 13.65secs effort, discus throwers Krishna Poonia and Seema Punia, 400m runner M R Poovamma were also some of the medal prospects who found place in the Incheon-bound team.

Arpinder Singh
Arpinder Singh 

20km race walker Gurmeet Singh, who won a bronze in the Asian Championships earlier in the year, and Glasgow Commonwealth Games participant hammer thrower Kamalpreet Singh have failed to get the nod of the selection committee of the Athletics Federation of India, which met here today.

"The selection committee took into consideration a slew of factors such as the dismal performance of some of the athletes at the Commonwealth Games 2014, the current form of some of the leading athletes and the performance at the Federation Cup before finalising the team," the AFI said in a release. 2010 Asian Games gold medallists Sudha Singh (women's 3000m steeplechase), Joseph Abraham (men's 400m hurdle), Ashwini Akkunji (women's 400m hurdles) and Preeja Shreedharan (women's 10000m) have also been named in the team.

The team was announced on the last day of the deadline to name the final list after Indian Olympic Association sought extension from the Incheon organisers on the request of the AFI. The deadline to name the final list had ended on August 15, according to an IOA source. Three athletes -- triple jumper Renjith Maheswary, Mayookha Johny (long jump and triple jump) and shot putter Om Prakash Karhana -- have been asked to give another trial at the NIS Patiala on September 15. They have been included in the 56-member list, subject to trials. The trio had come up with below-par performances in the Federation Cup at the NIS Patiala, which also served as the selection trials for the Asian Games.

"The selection committee also decided that triple jumper Renjith Maheshwary, jumper Mayookha Johny, shot putter Omprakash Singh Karhana and all the three relay teams will undergo a final trial at NS NIS Patiala on September 15. They will be selected only if they achieve a medal-winning level performance in the trial," the release said. The AFI selection committee comprise Olympians G S Randhawa, Shiny Wilson, Mercy Kuttan, former national chief coach JS Saini, current national chief coach Bahadur Singh, national deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair.

Maheswary, a former national record holder, finished second behind Arpinder in the Federation Cup with an effort of 16.43m while the qualifying standard for the Asian Games set by the AFI was 16.56m. Mayookha holds the national record in triple jump and took part in long jump in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games but was a disappointment in the Federation Cup as she finished third in triple jump with an effort of 13.34m. Mayookha finished fourth in the long jump with an effort of 6.08m. The AFI qualifying standard for women's long jump and triple jump were 6.49m and 13.39m respectively.

Om Prakash, who holds the national record in shot put but has been struggling for some time, finished second with a throw of 18.89m while the AFI qualifying standard was 19.48m. Om Prakash had also taken part in the Glasgow CWG. United States-based Gowda, Luka, Seema Punia and women's 20km race walker Kushbir Kaur had skipped the Federation Cup but still made it to the Asian Games team as the AFI had made the exemptions in their case.

All other team members have won their respective events at the Federation Cup. AFI President Adille J Sumariwalla said, "We have selected only those athletes who seem to be our best medal hopes in the collective wisdom of the members of the selection committee. Those athletes who did not live up to expectations at the Commonwealth Games 2014 will have to further prove themselves and cannot take their position in the team for guarantee." The team will leave in several batches as per the schedule requested by the respective coaches and till their departure they will continue to train at NIS Patiala. The AFI will continue to monitor the performance of the athletes at the national camp.

The Team: Men: 400m: Kunhu Mohammed, Arokia Rajiv 800m: Sajeesh Joseph 5000m: Kheta Ram, Suresh Kumar Patel 10000m: Rahul Kumar Pal 3000m Steeplechase: Naveen Kumar 110m Hurdle: Siddanth Thingalaya 400m Hurdle: Jithin Paul, Joseph Abraham High Jump: Nikhil Chittarasu Triple Jump: Arpinder Singh, Renjith Maheswary Shot Put: Inderjit Singh, Om Prakash Karhana Discus Throw: Vikas Gowda Hammer Throw: Chandrodaya Narayan Singh Javelin Throw: Rajinder Singh 20Km Walk: K T Irfan, K Ganapathy 50Km Walk: Sandeep Kumar, Basant Bahadur Rana 4x400m Relay: Kunhu Muhammed, Arokia Rajiv, Jibin Sebastian, K J Arun, Jithu Baby, Sandeep Women: 100m: Sharadha Narayanan 200m: Asha Roy, Srabani Nanda 400m: M R Poovamma 800m: Tintu Luka, Sushma Devi 1500m: O P Jaisha, Sini A Markose 5000m: O P Jaisha, Preeja Sreedharan 10000m: Preeja Sreedharan 3000m Steeplechase: Lalita Babbar, Sudha Singh 400M Hurdle: Ashwini Akkunji High Jump: Sahana Kumari Long Jump: M A Prajusha, Mayookha Johny Triple Jump: M A Prajusha, Mayookha Johny Discus Throw: Seema Punia, Krishna Poonia Hammer Throw: Manju Bala Javelin Throw: Annu Rani Heptathlon: Sushmita Singha Roy, Swapana Barman 20km Walk: Khushbir Kaur 4x100m Relay: Sarbani Nanda, Asha Roy, Merlin K Joseph, Sini S, Shantini V, H M Jyothi 4x400m Relay: M R Poovamma, Priyanka Panwar, Debashree Majumdar, Mandeep Kaur, Ashwini Akkunji, Arya C.

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