Top Indian athletes will be playing for the Asian Games 2023 qualification during the five-day National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships, which will start from Thursday in Bhubaneswar
Jyothi Yarraji (L), Annu Rani (R) (Pic: AFP)
Top Indian athletes will be playing for the Asian Games 2023 qualification during the five-day National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships, which will start from Thursday in Bhubaneswar.
It is the 62nd edition of the event and will serve as the final selection trial for Asian Games to be held later this year from September 23 to October 8 in China.
Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and steeplechase athlete Avinash Sable were granted exemption from this event by Athletics Federation of India (AFI). All other athletes will be present at the meet and will attempt to get through the Asian Games qualifying standards set by AFI.
For those who have already qualified for the Asian Games, this event will provide them with some valuable game time.
Murali Sreeshankar, a Commonwealth Games 2022 silver medalist and national record holder Jeswin Aldrin will be aiming for the top spot in the men's long jump event.
Both have had strong performances in the 2023 athletics season. While the eighth-ranked athlete in the world, Murali Sreeshankar, finished third in the Paris Diamond League earlier this month, Jeswin Aldrin's 8.42-meter leap from March is the second-best effort in the world, trailing only Markus Rehm of Germany's 8.50-meter leap from June.
The men's triple jump event is also a highly-staked event, featuring CWG medalists Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker and national record winner Praveen Chithravel.
Young javelin throwers Rohit Yadav, Vikrant Malik and DP Manu will be aiming for the top prize in the absence of Neeraj Chopra.
The national record holders in various sports like Tajinderpal Singh Toor (men's shot put), Amiya Kumar Mallick (men's 100m), Amlan Borgohain (men's 200m) and Jinson Johnson (men's 1500m) will be looking forward to dominating their respective sports.
In the women's 400 m race, 16-year-old Rezoana Mallick Heena, the U20 Asian champion will challenge World U20 championships medallists Rupal Chaudhary and Priya Mohan and two-time senior Asian championships silver medallist Jisna Mathew.
Shaili Singh, who won the women's long jump silver back in 2021 at World U20 Championships, will be competing against 2022 national-level champion Ancy Sojan and Asian championships bronze medallist Nayana James.
Hima Das will not be participating in the event due to a hamstring injury sustained last April. Jyothi Yarraji will be the top contender in the women's 100m hurdles event. She will also be in action during the 100m sprint event alongside Asian championships bronze medallist Srabani Nanda.
Harmilan Bains, the 2021 national champion and holder of the women's 1500m record, is scheduled to compete in the 800m and 1500m race events. The middle-distance runner broke the Asian Games record for the 1500 metres back in March in Chennai.
Seema Punia, the discus throw winner from the 2014 Asian Games, will compete in her first event of the year at the Bhubaneswar tournament. Manpreet Kaur, a former Asian shot put champion, and bronze medalist in javelin throwing Annu Rani will also be competing.
In the women's 20km race walk, the top names will be CWG silver medallist Priyanka Goswami and two-time national champion and Olympian Bhawna Jat.
The National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships 2023 will be held from June 15-19.
(With ANI inputs)