The 24th National Federation Cup of athletics held at the NIS Patiala throughout the last week gave India multiple reasons to be hopeful about. It showcased some of the best Indian athletes and their preparation ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
One of the most popular events of the Tokyo Olympics remains to be the regular sprinting of 100 m and 200m. Champions like Usain Bolt, Shelly Ann Frasers have created historic feats in these achievements. In India, two names - Hima Das and Dutee Chand are the two big stars who have become household names. Both are revered for their achievements on the track. On Tuesday last week, another name came to the fore when Tamil Nadu's Dhanalakshmi beat both Hima Das and Dutee Chand in the 100m final event of 24th Federation Cup.
While Hima was disqualified because of a false start, Dutee clocked a time of 11.58 seconds against Dhanalakshmi's 11.38 seconds (her own personal best in 100m). Dhanalakshmi was again up against Hima Das in the 200m race, which is now the pet event of the latter. In the semifinal heats of the event, Dhanalakshmi breezed past Hima by running a meet record time of 23.26 seconds. In fact, her time bettered PT Usha's long-standing meet record of 23.30 seconds set in Chennai in 1998.
However, in the final, it was Hima who stood faster. The sprinter, who hails from the state of Assam, finished the event in 23.21 seconds, while Dhanalakshmi, who stood second, took 23.39 seconds to complete the race.
Hima Das - Dhanalakshmi, Who will qualify for Tokyo Olympics?
Looking at their present performance, Hima, Dutee and Dhanalaksmi has the chance to represent India at Tokyo Olympics in the women's 4x100m relay team. The qualifications for the Olympics was frozen by the World Athletics, due to the pandemic, till November 30. The relay team will eye the Asian Relay Championships in Thailand and also the World Relay to ensure qualification for Tokyo.
Hima Das wins 200m gold at Federation Cup 2021
However, it is still a difficult race for both Hima and Dhanalakshmi to qualify in 100m and 200m individual events. In the women's event, the Tokyo qualification mark for 200m is 22.80 secs. Hima Das holds the best timing of 23.10 secs, while for Dhanalakshmi, it is 23.26 secs. Both still have a long way to improve to reach the qualifying standards. The best time in women's 200m is still held by West Bengal's Saraswati Saha who clocked 22.82 secs in 2002.
In the 100mts, the race is even tougher where the women's Olympic qualification mark is 11.15 secs. India's best bet in 100m is Dutee Chand who has the best timing of 11.22 secs which she made in 2019. While Hima's best timing is 11.67secs and Dhalakshmi has 11.38 secs. Looking at the timings, it seems to be a tough race for both Hima and Dhanalaskshmi to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, particularly individual events.