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Uncertainty looms over Indian 400m sensation's participation at World Championships

Uncertainty looms over Indian 400m sensations participation at World Championships

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Published: 31 July 2019 7:48 AM GMT
The 21-year-old middle-distance runner Anjali Devi has almost silently created history. The Haryana runner clocked an incredible 51.79 seconds in the 400 meters in Open Nationals last year at Bhubaneswar, breaking a 17-year-old record of K Beenamol. With such brilliant timing, Anjali had already qualified for the World Championship this year. Her childhood and personal coach Rohtash, while talking to The Bridge from Rohtak on Monday over the phone, expressed doubts over his student's chances of participating in the World Championship, scheduled to be held from 28th September to 6th October. The reason he stated is Anjali's ankle injury. Rohtash said,
"After Anjali won the gold medal at the Open Nationals in October last year, she was with those national athletes who have been still training in Poland for last few months. But during the training, Anjali sustained an ankle injury, and she returned to her village, a few kilometres away from Rohtak. It has been almost a month she has been taking rest. She is also undergoing treatment and under a qualified doctor there.
"She is preparing for the crucial inter-state meet, being held in Lucknow from 27th to 30th August. I have to watch her performance there in the event to judge whether she will be fit to take part in the World Championships."
Anjali, in spite of creating a sensation with 51.79 seconds timing in the 400 metres, she was scrutinised. She had to undergo an assessment test along with 16 other participating athletes after the Open Nationals. While speaking from Lucknow on Tuesday, C K Valson, joint-secretary of Athletics Federation of India (AFI) said, “Anjali Devi had already passed in the assessment test (dope test) after the Open Nationals. She also was given her gold medal back. Then she went to Poland along with other middle-distance runners for exposure training. But around a month back, she returned to her village following an ankle injury.”
Valson added, “The problem is that we also have qualified doctors and physiotherapists. But several athletes prefer to undergo treatment by their own doctors. In such cases, if we create pressure on the respective athlete for treatment, then in future, if the respective athlete does not get cured, fingers are pointed at AFI.”
Along with Rohtash, AFI will also be monitoring Anjali in the forthcoming Inter-state meet minutely to check whether she has recovered sufficiently. If Anjali fails, then in spite of earning qualification time, she will be ruled out of the World Championships. The Bridge could not contact Anjali for any comment. Her coach regretted saying, “She does not have a father and her mother has to sell milk to earn a livelihood. Anjali used to play kabaddi, and it was my sister, who is also a national kabaddi player, saw Anjali two-and-half years ago. Anjali is powerful mentally and always looked determined. Having watched her, I picked her and shaped her to an athlete. If she finally fails to get into the national team for the World Championships, then it will be a big setback for her.”
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