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Athletics

Will Dhanalakshmi qualify for 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

Since her brilliant show in the month of March, Dhanalakshmi has been in the centre of some really good media attention, with fans expecting her to make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Dhanalakshmi (Source: The Hindu)
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Dhanalakshmi (Source: The Hindu)

By

Abhijit Nair

Updated: 4 Jun 2021 9:08 AM GMT

A 22-year-old from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Dhanalakshmi Sekar, caught the eyes of Indian sports fans in March earlier this year when she defeated the much-fancied Dutee Chand and Hima Das in a 100m sprint during the 24th Federation Cup National Championships in Patiala.

Dhanalakshmi's rise to the top has been rapid, and since her brilliant show in the month of March, the sprinter has been in the centre of some really good media attention, with fans expecting her to make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

But can she really qualify for the Olympics? Read on to find out.

As per the rules, to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in individual 100m and 200m sprints, an athlete needs to be well-placed in the 'Road to Olympic Games 2020 rankings'. Besides, each country can enter a total of just three athletes, so one needs to be amongst the top three in their country as well if they are to qualify.

In Dhanalakshmi's case, none of these conditions works in her favour – neither in 100m nor in 200m.

She is nowhere close to the qualifying standards in the 'Road to Olympic Games 2020' and is neither amongst the top three in India as per the latest world rankings. Dhanalakshmi is ranked eighth amongst Indians in terms of points in 100m and is ranked fifth in 200m. This directly implies that there is no way the sprinter from Tamil Nadu will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in individual events.

But, Dhanalakshmi can still be hopeful of making it through the Women's 4x100m relay team.

She was recently included in the Indian women's 4x100m team, thanks to her splendid show during the domestic meets in March, and was supposed to travel to Poland for the World Relays held on 1st and 2nd May 2021.

But unfortunately, the team could not travel due to the covid-19 travel restrictions imposed over the country, and the team has not competed together since.

To qualify for the relay events at Tokyo Olympics, the team needs to be amongst the top 16 in the 'Road to Olympic Games 2020' rankings. The Indian Women's 4x100m relay team is currently ranked 22nd and are not in contention at the moment.

The women can still harbour a hope of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Games if they are able to compete in some events and improve their timing drastically before the qualification period ends.

If they fail to do so, then we might not see Dhanalakshmi Sekar competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


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