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India's medal contenders at World Athletics Championships 2023

The entire responsibility of winning medals will not be on Neeraj Chopra alone this time. The burden will be shared by long jumpers Murali Sreeshankar and Jeswin Aldrin, triple jumper Praveen Chithravel and steeplechaser Avinash Sable.

Jeswin Aldrin,Praveen Chithravel and Murali Sreeshankar

Jeswin Aldrin,Praveen Chithravel and Murali Sreeshankar


Bikash Chand Katoch

Updated: 18 Aug 2023 10:41 AM GMT

The World Athletics Championships 2023 schedule is from 19 to 27 August 2023 and it will be held at the National Athletics Centre, in Budapest, Hungary. India will field a 27-member team including four female athletes.

Neeraj Chopra is the only former medallist in the Indian contingent but this time the entire responsibility of winning a medal will not be on him. The burden will be shared by long jumpers Murali Sreeshankar and Jeswin Aldrin, triple jumper Praveen Chithravel and steeplechaser Avinash Sable who will look to find places on the podium.

India have won a total of 2 medals in the history of the World Athletics Championships - a bronze by Anju Bobby George (2003) and a silver by Neeraj Chopra (2022).

1. Neeraj Chopra

Season 2023 Top List - 3rd Season Best - 88.67 Personal Best - 89.94m

The flagbearer of indian athletics, the golden boy has never dissappointed indian fans. Having won all possible titles like World Junior Champion, Asian Games Champion, Commonwealth Games Champion, Olympic Champion and Diamond League Champion, the tag of world champion is the only one left to achieve for him.

Last year Neeraj came very close to it in Eugene when he throw 88.13m but settled for silver. He was only the second Indian after long jumper Anju Bobby George to stand the World Championships podium.

Since then, Neeraj have been on top in four Diamond League events (Lausaane 2022, Zurich 2022, Doha 2023 and Lausanne 2023). There was a setback when he suffered a muscle strain in training, but he put all fitness doubts aside by returning from a layoff to win in Lausanne Diamond League with 88.67m.

Other contenders - Currently standing 3rd on the season top list, Neeraj will have to battle for gold with Czech Jakub Vadlejch (Season Best - 89.51m) and German Julian Weber (Season Best - 88.72m). Grenada's Anderson Peters is bidding for a hat-trick of javelin world titles, but he has been well below his best this season (Season Best - 85.88m).

Neeraj Chopra

2. Jeswin Aldrin

Season 2023 Top List - 1st (Regular Wind) Season Best - 8.42m Personal Best - 8.42m

Long jumper Jeswin Aldrin set a new national record with a world leading jump of 8.42m at the Indian Open jumps competition in Bellary in March this year, to break the previous national record of 8.36m by Murali Sreeshankar. He won an Asian Indoor Athletics Championships silver to start the season and finished runner-up in international tournaments in Cuba and Greece.

The gold in his most recent inernational outing in Switzerland with a 8.22m jump, the last event before World Championships, will give him a lot of confidence. Lack of international exposure saw him exiting in the qualifying rounds on his Worlds debut last year. This time, he is ready to rub shoulder with the best in world.

Other contenders - Though Tokyo Olympic champion Greek Miltiadis Tentoglou is only fourth in this year's world lists (Season Best - 8.38m), he has consistently jumped beyond eight metres this season and wants to upgrade his silver from last year to gold. Last year's world champion China's Jianan Wang is not in the best form (Season Best - 8.26m). Winner of both Asian Indoor and Outdoor Championships this year, Chinese Taipei's Yu-Tang Lin (Season Best 8.40m) has emerged as the frontrunner for gold.

Jeswin Aldrin

3. Murali Sreeshankar

Season 2023 Top List - 2nd (Regular Wind) Season Best - 8.41m Personal Best - 8.41m

The Indian Ahletics fraternity will be beaming with pride knowing that two Indian long jumpers are heading to Budapest with the world's best two jumps this season. Murali Sreeshankar finished seventh in last year's World Championships, later saying that he did not have enough experience for such a big stage.

The Commonwealth Games silver medallist set a personal best with 8.41m in winning Indian Championships this year. He has competed in two Diamond League meetings this season, securing third place in Paris and fifth place in Lausanne. He is heading to Budapest having won an Asian Athletics Championships silver recently with a 8.37m jump.

Other contenders - Apart from friend Jeswin Aldrin he will be competeting with Miltiadis Tentoglou, Jianan Wang and Yu-Tang Lin to find a place on the podium.

Murali Sreeshankar

4. Praveen Chithravel

Season 2023 Top List - 5th (Regular Wind) Season Best - 17.37m Personal Best - 8.41m

Praveen Chithravel's debut in last year's World Championships was not successful as he could only manage 17th position with 16.49m. Even at the Commonwealth Games, he missed the podium by 0.03m. But the 21-year old triple jumper started the 2023 season with a silver in Asian Indoor Athletics Championships with a new indoor national record of 16.98m. The Tamil Nadu youngster went past the outdoor national record comfortably at an Athletics meet in Havana in May this year with a gold-winning 17.37m. He had three jumps over 17m at the same meet. He finished sixth at the Monaco Diamond League.

Other contenders - With two other Indian triple jumpers accompanying him to Budapest, Abdulla Aboobacker (Season Best 16.92m) and Eldhouse Paul (Season Best 16.75m) not having crossed 17m this season, Praveen will have extra burden to carry. The reigning World and Olympic champion Portugal’s Pedro Pichardo (Season Best - 17.91m *wind assisted) is hot contender for gold with distances inching towards 18m. Current world U20 champion Jamaica's Jaydon Hibbert, last year's silver medalist Burkina Faso's Hugues Zango (Season Best - 17.81m) and World Indoor Champion Cuba's Lazaro Martinez (Season Best - 17.51m) will be other strong contenders.

Praveen Chithravel

5. Avinash Sable

Season 2023 Top List -13th Season Best - 8:11.63 Personal Best - 8:11.20

Avinash Sable set the national record for the 9th time with his silver at the CWG last year, where he ended Kenya's steeplechase hegemony. At the Worlds last year though, he had been expected to do much better than his lowly 11th place finish with 8:31.75.

This year, he has participated in three Diamond League meetings with a season best of 8:11.63 with 6th place finish at Chorzow.

Other contenders - The event will see fierce competetion between Olympic and defending World champion Morocco's Soufiane El Bakkali (Season Best - 7:56.68) and season topper Ethiopian Lamecha Girma (Season Best - 7:52.11). Kenyan national champion youngster Simon Kiprop Koech (Season Best - 8:04.19) will try to step up for Kenya, the nation which has won 13 titles in 18 editions.

Avinash Sable

Other Indians to watch out for:

Recently crowned Asian champion and World University Games bronze medalists national record holder hurdler Jyothi Yarraji will be rubbing shoulders with the top guns. Making the finals will be her target. Javelin thrower DP Manu recently won silver in Asian Championships with 81.01m. Odisha javelin thrower Kishore Kumar Jena is also in the form of life, having won the Sri Lanka National Championships this year with a Personal Best of 84.38m.

Asian Championships gold medalist triple jumper Abdula Aboobacker is also in the groove at the right time with a Season Best of 16.92m. Asian Championships winner Parul Chaudhary (3000m steeplechase) recently achieved a Personal Best time of 9:29.51 in USA. Middle distance runners Krishan Kumar (800m) and Ajay Kumar Saroj (1500m) are also heading to Budapest after their heroics at Asian Championships. Long jumper Shaili Singh clinched silver with a Personal Best jump of 6.76m early in the season, she will also look to peak at the World Championships.

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