4 Indians on course to qualify for Paris Olympics based on new Athletics entry standards
Avinash Sable and Neeraj Chopra are the two Indians who are most comfortably placed to qualify for the 2024 Olympics based on the new entry standards.
The new Athletics qualification system for the Paris Olympics was released by World Athletics last week, causing considerable concern among Indian athletes due to the increased difficulty in entry standards.
Only four Indian athletes have come up with performances over the last season that are set to meet the entry standard for their respective events. They are Neeraj Chopra (Javelin Throw), Avinash Sable (3000m Steeplechase), Murali Sreeshankar (Long Jump) and Priyanka Goswami (20 km Racewalk).
Athletes will be able to qualify for the Paris Olympics in two ways. Half of the qualification places will be based on achieving the entry standard while the other half will be based on world rankings. The period of qualification is from 31 December 2022 for 10,000m, combined events, race walks and relays; and from 1 July 2023 for all other individual events.
All performances must be achieved during competitions organised or authorised by World Athletics, continental associations or national federations. For individual events, there will be a maximum of three athletes per NOC eligible to qualify.
Avinash Sable, Neeraj Chopra most comfortably placed
Causing concern among Indians, the new entry standards are significantly tougher than Tokyo 2020 in almost every event.
"Even qualifying through the world ranking system will be tough for Indian sprinters as they don't get the opportunity to compete in quality races to improve their rankings," former national-record holder Amiya Kumar Mallik told Sportskeeda.
Based on season results, five Indian track and field athletes will have ensured their participation through the entry standard without having to depend on world rankings. Out of the five, discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur is currently serving a three-year doping ban.
Avinash Sable's 8:11.20 performance in 3000m Steeplechase at the Commonwealth Games, which broke the Kenyan hegemony of the event, is comfortably clear of the entry standard of 8:15.00.
Javelin thrower and Tokyo gold medallist Neeraj Chopra also comfortably fulfilled the entry standard of 85.50m at every meet he participated in this year.
Sreeshankar's mark of 8.36m, the current national record achieved at the Federation Cup in Kerala earlier this year, would qualify him comfortably ahead of the entry standard of 8.27m. However, the marks he set at the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games after that show would not be enough.
Among women, Priyanka Goswami's national record of 1:28.45 in 20km Racewalk from last year would get her through.