The 24th edition of the Asian Athletics Championships is set to be hosted in Bangkok, Thailand, from July 12 to July 16.
While marquee names such as Neeraj Chopra and Avinash Sable miss out as they continue training abroad for the World Championships, here are India's best medal bets at the upcoming Asian Athletics Championships.
Tajinder Pal Singh Toor - Shot Put
Toor, the ‘gentle giant’ who has been shattering national and Asian records all year round, is most likely to successfully defend his men’s shot-put title. Momentum and confidence favour the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist as he seeks to extend his string of consistent and dominant performances.
Jeswin Aldrin - Men's Long Jump
The national long-jump record holder is a sure-shot contender and will be one to look out for. The 21-year-old Aldrin looks to get back into rhythm before the Hangzhou Asian Games and Paris Olympics.
Murali Sreeshankar - Men's Long Jump
Marquee long-jumper Murali Sreeshankar will join fellow countryman Aldrin and elevate the chances of a glamorous double-podium finish for India in the discipline. Sreeshankar recently emerged triumphant and bagged bronze at the 2023 Paris Diamond League.
Jyothi Yarraji - Women's 100m Hurdles
The young hurdle specialist shattered the long-standing national record by setting a time of 12.82s in 2022. Titles have followed her ever since, and Yarraji recently tasted gold at the recently concluded inter-state championship. The Asian Athletics Championship will be the hurdler’s continental debut.
DP Manu - Men's Javelin Throw
With Neeraj Chopra training for the World Championships and a last-minute withdrawal by the injured Rohit Yadav, all hopes are pinned on DP Manu for the men’s javelin throw. A podium finish here could be a breakthrough moment for the potential-laden Manu.
Abdulla Aboobacker - Men's Triple Jump
The triple-jumper hailing from Kerala has returned to form at the exact right time after clinching gold at the 2023 Federation Cup and at the 2023 Continental Tour in Japan. Aboobacker, a 2022 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, is a sure frontrunner to add another medal to his trophy cabinet.
Tejaswin Shankar - Decathlon
Despite being relatively new to the scene, Shankar has put the entire decathlon contingent on notice with a chain of dominant and resilient performances. Shankar will certainly aim to follow up on his decathlon gold at the 2023 National Inter-State Athletics Championship, and decathlon silver at the Jim Click Shootout with a medal in Thailand.
Shaili Singh - Women's Long Jump
The 2021 World U20 Championship silver medallist has been touted as the heir to the iconic Anju Bobby George, and she is the favourite to clinch gold in the women’s long jump. Shaili recently won her maiden global medal in the shape of a bronze at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Japan. Due to her 6.76m jump (the second-longest jump by any Indian woman) at the Indian Grand Prix, she is currently the Asian leader in women’s long jump.
Ancy Sojan – Women's Long Jump
Kerala’s Ancy Sojan joins Singh and eyes an opportunity to make it a historic double podium finish for India in the women’s long jump. It will be a highly anticipated and close contest between Japan’s Sumire Hata, China’s Shiqi Xiong, and Singh, her fellow countrywoman.
Swapna Barman – Heptathlon
The Arjuna Award recipient has always performed on the grandest of stages. She clinched the heptathlon gold at the 2018 Asian Games and 2017 Asian Athletics Championship. Could history repeat itself for the heptathlete?
Parul Chaudhary – Women's 3000m Steeplechase
Chaudhary, the first Indian runner to clock a sub-9-minute time in the women’s 3000m, is expected to battle it out in the front of the 3000m steeplechase.
Annu Rani – Women's Javelin Throw
Olympian Annu Rani can potentially add an Asian Athletics Championship medal to her 2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medal.