World junior champion Hima Das was on Monday named as 4x400m relay runner in India’s 25-member squad for the World Athletics Championships to be held in Doha from September 27.Also Read - Hima Das Tests Positive For COVID-19
The number of athletes announced after a meeting of AFI selection committee will, however, increase after the international body (IAAF) gives confirmation of the likes of World University 100m champion Dutee Chand, who did not meet the qualification mark but is within the required number of competitors for the event. Also Read - Discus Thrower Seema Punia Qualifies For Tokyo Olympics, Hima Das Set to Miss Summer Games
Hima could not qualify for her pet event 400m but she has been named to run in the women’s 4x400m relay and the mixed 4x400m relay races. The AFI is even hoping that the mixed 4x400m relay team can come in the medal bracket or at least close to it. Also Read - Tokyo Olympics: Karnataka's Dhaneshwari Likely to Take Hima Das Place in Indian 4x100m Relay Team
The name of star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who is undergoing rehabilitation after elbow surgery, was also discussed but was not named in the team. “The selectors decided to discuss the case of javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who is undergoing rehabilitation programme after an elbow surgery at a later stage,” a press release from the AFI said.
Sources in the AFI, however, said that Neeraj, who has qualified for the World Championships before his surgery, is more or less ruled out of the marquee event. “Neeraj is unlikely to make it to Doha Worlds as he is undergoing rehabilitation. We think it is better for Neeraj to recover properly as we see him as a bright prospect for the Tokyo Olympics,” the source told PTI.
“The selection committee also approved the names of sprinters Dutee Chand (100m women), Archana Suseentran (200m women) and high jumper Tejaswin Shankar subject to invitation from the IAAF. The committee also decided to conduct confirmatory trial for quarter-miler Anjali Devi for selection in the team in individual women’s 400m. The trial will be conducted on September 21st at the NIS Patiala,” the AFI release added.
An AFI official said that Tejaswin will be asked to come to India and undergo a trial if he wants to take part in the World Championships. “If the IAAF sends an invite for Tejaswin, we will ask him to at least jump 2.25m if not the World Championships qualification standard of 2.30m,” the official said.
The personal best for Tejaswin is 2.29m, which is also the national record. The selection committee meeting, chaired by Olympian Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, was attended by AFI President Adille Sumariwalla, chief coach Bahadur Singh, Bahadur Singh Saggu, Krishna Poonia, Praveen Jolly, Uday Prabhu, Paramjit Singh.
Former chief coach JS Saini and current deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair were special invitees. The AFI said that the 4x400m relay teams will perform better than they did in the World Relays in Yokohama in May last.
“We have invested a lot of time in the 400m runners, getting them to train under renowned coach Galina Bukharina. We believe that the squad has been well prepared to deliver the best results on the world stage,” AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said.
Men: Jabir MP (400m Hurdles), Jinson Johnson (1500m), Avinash Sable (3000m Steeplechase), KT Irfan and Devender Singh (20km Race Walk), Gopi T (Marathon), Sreeshankar M (Long Jump), Tajinder Pal Singh Toor (Shot Put), Shivpal Singh (Javelin Throw), Muhammed Anas, Nirmal Noah Tom, Alex Antony, Amoj Jacob, KS Jeevan, Dharun Ayyasamy and Harsh Kumar (4x400m Men’s & Mixed Relay).
Women: PU Chitra (1500m), Annu Rani (Javelin Throw), Hima Das, Vismaya VK, Poovamma MR, Jisna Mathew, Revathi V, Subha Venkatsan, Vithya R (4x400m Women & Mixed Relay).