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Olympic dreams on line: Indian athletes eye Paris berth at Inter-State Athletics

Indian athletes will have their last shot at improving their qualification chances for the Olympics at the Inter-State National Athletics C'ships.

Olympic dreams on line: Indian athletes eye Paris berth at Inter-State Athletics

Jeswin Aldrin (Long Jump), Shaili Singh (Long Jump), and Kishore Kumar Jena (Javelin Throw) will be the athletes to look out at the 63rd Inter-State National Championships. (Photo Credits: PritishRaj/TheBridge)


Pritish Raj

Updated: 26 Jun 2024 5:50 PM GMT

Panchkula, Haryana: The stars of Indian athletics will descend at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula, Haryana as the athletes gear up for one last qualification chance for the 2024 Paris Olympics at the 63rd Inter-State National Championships from tomorrow.

The biggest names in Indian athletics will be in action for the next four days as World Champion Neeraj Chopra has been exempted due to the Diamond League in Paris next month.

The championships will serve as the final qualifying event for the upcoming Paris Games where the athletics events begin on August 1. Incidentally, the final day of the four-day championships -- June 30 -- also coincides with the Olympics qualifying window deadline.

Apart from the Olympic-bound athletes such as Avinash Sable (3000m Steeplechase), Parul Chaudhary (3000m Steeplechase), Kishore Kumar Jena (Javelin Throw), and the race walkers, athletes who are in the race for Olympic qualification via rankings will headline the tournament.

Among the ones in contention via rankings are- Jyothi Yarraji (100m hurdles), Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Shot Put), Annu Rani (Javelin Throw), DP Manu (Javelin Throw), Sarvesh Kushare (High Jump), Mixed 4x400 relay team, Jeswin Aldrin (Long Jump), Praveen Chitravel and Eldhose Paul (Triple Jump).

AFI hopeful of Mixed Relay qualification

Both the men's and women's 4x400m relay teams booked Paris tickets at the Bahamas World Relays Championships last month but the mixed team failed to do so.

"We have invited Sri Lanka and Maldives for the mixed 4x400m relay race and we are hoping that our team can run below 3 minute 11.87 seconds to qualify for the Olympics," AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said at the pre-event press conference on Wednesday.

Currently, the Indian mixed team is placed 23rd in the ranking of Road to Paris.

Only 16 teams will participate mixed 4x400m relay event in Paris and 14 have already booked their berths during the World Relays Championships in Nassau last month. Italy (3:10.69) and Kenya (3:11.88) are the frontrunners to take the two remaining slots.

The Indian team will have to improve their timing of three seconds from 3:14.12 to have a chance.

Tajinderpal Singh Toor might turn up

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla also confirmed that Asian Champion shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor might compete if he feels well from his ankle pain.

"He is feeling better and so he (Toor) may take part," Sumariwalla said.

It, however, remains to be seen whether Toor takes the field or not. He is expected to make the Paris cut through the world ranking quota.

Earlier, Tajinder complained of ankle pain and was expected to miss the tournament.

Showdown in Men's 100m and Women's Long Jump

The eyes will be on men's 100m sprint and women's long jump as the best Indian athletes will turn up for a rare showdown.

In women's long jump, the trio of Shaili Singh, Nayana James, and Asian Games medalist Ancy Sojan will be competing in the season for the first time. Nayana and Shaili have been turning up against each other constantly but Ancy was out due to an injury.

She made a comeback at Indian Grand Prix 3 to win the gold medal ahead of Nayana James while Shaili is coming fresh from her European stint.

Gurvindervir Singh, Animesh Kujur, Amlan Borgohain, and National Record holder Manikanta will be competing against each other for the very first time.

All four sprinters are in good form and expected to put on a good show in the event.

Athletes to watch out for

Track: Animesh Kujur, Manikanta, Gurvindervir Singh, Amlan Borgohain, Jyothi Yarraji, Tejas Shirse, Avinash Sable.

Field: Ancy Sojan, Tejaswin Shankar, Shaili Singh, Annu Rani, Sarvesh Anil Kushare, Praveen Chitravel, Kishore Kumar Jena, Sachin Yadav, Jeswin Aldrin, DP Manu.

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