2019 World Athletics Championships: History of India at the event
With higher stakes and Olympic qualification up for grabs, the 27-member Indian squad will gun for glory at the 2019 World Athletics Championships.
With higher stakes and Olympic qualification up for grabs, the 27-member Indian squad will gun for glory at the 2019 World Championships in athletics, scheduled to get underway on September 27 at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. Hailed as the best platform to gauge the Indian squad against the world’s best before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the country's sporting ecosystem boasts of athletes with the potential to win medals and give tough competition for global titles.
The 17th edition of the World Championships will witness as many as 1928 athletes (1039 men and 889 women) from 209 countries and territories, which is a record both in terms of the number of athletes as well as countries.
India’s only medal in the senior World Championships, however, came through long jumper Anju Bobby George who won a bronze medal in 2003 in Paris with a leap of 6.70m. Despite a medal deficit in the zone of athletics at the Worlds, it is hard to overlook the decisive strides that Indian athletics have taken in the recent past.
India initially entered a team of 25 athletes and added ace sprinter Dutee Chand in the women’s 100 metres run. A major setback surfaced in the Indian squad when World Junior 400m champion Hima Das aggravated a lower-back injury and withdrew from the squad. In the upturn of events, Anjali Devi in women’s 400m and Archana Suseendran in women’s 200m made it to the squad for World Championships.
Quarter-miler Anjali was cleared to participate in the World Championships by Athletics Federation of India (AFI) in Doha after she went through a confirmatory trial on September 21. Having crossed the qualifying mark for the World Championships, Anjali was told by the federation to appear for the trial as she was not a part of the national camp for some time. She has registered the best performance by an Indian of the season in 400m with a total of 51.53s clocking at the Inter-State Championships in Lucknow earlier this month.
In a latest development, 200m sprinter Archana Suseendran has been added to the Indian team for the upcoming IAAF World Championships by an invitation received from IAAF. Archana’s inclusion in the team increased the number of participants to 27. The IAAF released a provisional entry list announcing the availability of new slots after some of the athletes informed that they wouldn’t be participating.
Anju, arguably one of the best distance runners that India has ever produced, had stepped on the pedal at the right time to glorify India with an impressive podium finish. Besides her bronze-winning performance at the 2003 World Championships, Anju won a gold medal at the 2002 Busan Asian Games, only to follow it up with a silver four years later in Doha. The medal effort at the Worlds has, undoubtedly, been the zenith of Anju’s career.
However, it will be against the backdrop of this fine display by Anju Bobby George that the frontline Indian squad will make its way to Doha for the prestigious World Championships. One can only hope for India’s impressive run at the Worlds to trigger a new chapter in the Indian athletics scenario.