IMAGE: Olympic gold medallist javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will lead a 37-member Indian athletics team at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Photograph: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Thursday named a 37-member Indian athletics team, to be led by Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, with the selection committee picking the athletes on expected lines with no major surprises.
Out the of the 37 picked by the selection committee of the AFI, 18 are women, with the likes of star sprinters Hima Das and Dutee Chand getting their berths through the women’s 4x100m relay team.
The selectors also named a men’s 4x400m relay team.
The team also have the likes of Avinash Sable, who broke his own 3000m steeplechase national record for the eighth time recently, as well as Jyothi Yarraji, who broke her own 100m hurdles national record twice last month.
It also has Aishwarya Babu, who smashed her own triple jump national record with a stunning 14.14m effort during the recent National Inter-State Championships in Chennai.
However, 200m national record holder Amlan Borgohain, who won a sprint double (100m and 200m) during the National Inter-State, missed the bus as he could not reach the CWG qualifying standard set by the AFI.
Although selected, some of the athletes will have to prove their form and fitness before the Birmingham Games.
Veteran discus thrower Seema Punia has been given a chance to feature in her fifth CWG considering her past performances in the Games. Her participation, however, is subject to reaching the qualifying standard set by the AFI in a competition in USA.
Punia has won a medal in each of the four Commonwealth Games she has taken part in.
“Seema Punia’s participation in the CWG will absolutely depend on her performance in the USA,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said.
“We have allowed her to train and compete in the USA considering here past results in the CWG and Asian Games,” he said of Punia, who skipped the June 10-14 National Inter-State Senior Championships which was the qualifying event for CWG selection.
There will be three Indians in the men’s javelin throw in the Birmingham Games with DP Manu and Rohit Yadav joining Chopra. The same is for men’s triple jump, with Abdulla Aboobacker, Praveen Chithravel and Eldhose Paul making it to the team.
“We are requesting the Indian Olympic Association to increase our quota by one and to assist in securing accreditation for a couple of athletes. We have also selected a few subject to proving their fitness and form before the Games,” Sumariwalla said.
The AFI has been given a quota of 36 in the Indian team for the July 28 to August 8 Games.
Shot puttter Tajinderpal Singh Toor will have to perform well in Kazakhstan while Amoj Jacob has been selected in the men’s 4x400m relay team subject to his recovery and fitness level.
Jacob had pulled his hamstring while running the last leg of the India ‘A’ team during the Inter-State Championships.
“Similarly, discus throwers Navjeet Kaur Dhillon and Seema Antil Punia as well as Hammer Thrower Sarita Singh will have to perform in Kazakhstan or California. Race walker Bhawna Jat will have to prove her fitness,” the AFI president said.
National record holder high jumper Tejaswin Shankar, who won gold at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships 2022 in the US last week with a season-best performance of 2.27m, was not picked as he did not take part in the National Inter-State and did nor seek exemption.
India’s athletics team for CWG 2022:
Men: Avinash Sable (3000m Steeplechase); Nitender Rawat (Marathon); M Sreeshankar and Muhammed Anees Yahiya (Long Jump); Abdulla Aboobacker, Praveen Chithravel and Eldhose Paul (Triple Jump); Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Shot Put); Neeraj Chopra, DP Manu and Rohit Yadav (Javelin Throw); Sandeep Kumar and Amit Khatri (Race Walking); Amoj Jacob, Noah Nirmal Tom, Arokia Rajiv, Muhammed Ajmal, Naganathan Pandi and Rajesh Ramesh (4x400m Relay).
Women: S Dhanalakshmi (100m and 4x100m relay); Jyothi Yarraji (100mHurdles); Aishwarya B (Long Jump and Triple Jump) and Ancy Sojan (Long Jump); Manpreet Kaur (Shot Put); Navjeet Kaur Dhilllon and Seema Antil Punia (Discus Throw); Annu Rani and Shilpa Rani (Javelin Throw); Manju Bala Singh and Sarita Romit Singh (Hammer Throw); Bhawna Jat and Priyanka Goswami (Race Walking); Hima Das, Dutee Chand, Srabani Nanda, MV Jilna and NS Simi (4x100m relay).