Anju Bobby George
Former Olympians P.T. Usha and Anju Bobby George on Wednesday said Indian athletes will get valuable exposure when they compete against some of the top contenders from across the continent at the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship.
The tournament, to be held in Bhubaneswar from July 5-9, will see 1,104 athletes comprising 724 males and 380 females from 45 countries compete for top honours.
India has registered the largest number of participants with 168 athletes followed by China, Japan, Thailand and Kuwait. The hosts are expected to announce their final squad on Monday
"Every discipline has at least three Indians, which will be a benefit for the athletes from the host nation to learn better," Anju said.
High jumper Mutaz Essa of Qatar, hammer throw specialist Dilshod Nazarov of Uzbekistan, long jumper Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan and the Japanese men's 4X100 metres relay team are some of the the top medal conteders expected to feature in the tournament.
"It will be a good chance for athletes to participate and learn, they should make the most of it. Even my students will be a part of this competition." P.T. Usha said.
Athletics Federation of India (AFI) President Adille Sumariwalla said the tournament will be a success despite the fact that the monsoon rains are expected to arrive in Odisha from the first week of July.
He also expects India to finish in the third spot of the medal standings.
"Despite the heavy showers expected the championship will go on it won't cause any troubles we have done our homework and made necessary arrangements," he said.
"For me, India will repeat what they did in 2015 Asian Athletics Championship held in Wuhan -- they will settle for the third position with thirteen medals."