Olympic Games gold medallist Neeraj Chopra will be expected to lead the charge in the 22-member Indian squad to compete at the World Athletics Championships to be held in Eugene, Oregon from July 15 to 24.
Neeraj Chopra has stated that Worlds, followed by CWG 2022, are his main targets for 2022 and he has been in fine form to start his season. He has bettered his personal best and national record twice in three events. India have won only medal at the event in the past, with Anju Bobby George’s bronze and Chopra will be looking to add to that, even if the competition is bound to be tough with a few 90m+ athletes likely to be in contention, including reigning champion Anderson Peters.
The Athletics Federation of India Thursday named the Indian contingent for Oregon which includes seven national record holders.
AFI President Adille J Sumariwalla said the team, which comprises of 17 men and five women, had been selected from among those who had either attained the entry standard set by World Athletics or qualified on the basis of their world rankings.
However, long jumper Jeswin Aldrin has been dropped from the Oregon bound squad despite him meeting the qualification mark. Aldrin has also not been selected for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Defending the decision, Sumariwalla said that since achieving the qualification mark, Aldrin’s performances had dipped and he had also picked up an “ankle niggle”.
“He attained the entry standard by jumping 8.26m in the Federation Cup on April 3 but his graph has shown only a downward trend since. He jumped 7.82, 7.69 and 7.51 in the last three meets,” he said.
When a reporter compared Jeswin Aldrin with shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor, Sumariwalla pointed out that the Asian champion was staging a comeback from a wrist surgery and had kept improving his performances.
“In the Inter-State Championships, which was a selection meet, Toor won with a 20.34m effort. He is the best we have in shot put,” he said.
Sumariwalla said that race walker Bhawana Jat and discuss thrower Seema Punia had withdrawn from the elite championships as they wanted to focus of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
4x400m relay runner Amoj Jacob’s selection would be subject to his regaining fitness with Arokia Rajiv to replace him if he does not pass the fitness test.
Women’s 400m sprinter Aishwarya Mishra has also been selected subject to her undergoing a fitness trial over 400m with electronic time and dope testing.
The quartermiler came into the spotlight when she clocked 51.18 seconds in the Federation Cup in Kozhikode on April 3. However, she was accused of evading testers from the AFI and the Athletics Integrity Unit. “She went to visit her ailing grandmother and lost her phone. That was her explanation,” Sumariwala said.
Men: Avinash Sable (3000m Steeplechase), MP Jabir (400m Hurdles), M Sreeshankar and Muhammed Anees Yahiya (Long Jump), Abdulla Aboobacker, Praveen Chithravel and Eldhose Paul (Triple Jump), Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Shot Put), Neeraj Chopra and Rohit Yadav (Javelin Throw), Sandeep Kumar (20km Race Walking), Amoj Jacob*, Noah Nirmal Tom, Muhammed Ajmal, Naganathan Pandi, Rajesh Ramesh and Muhammed Anas Yahiya (4x400m).
Women: S Dhanalakhsmi (200m), Aishwarya Kailash Mishra (400m), Parul Chaudhary (3000m Steeplechase), Annu Rani (Javelin Throw) and Priyanka Goswami (20km Walk).
Note: Amoj Jacob has been selected subject to fitness. If he is not fit, Arokia Rajiv will replace him in the relay squad. Aishwarya Kailash Mishra will be subject to a fitness trial in 400m (with electronic time and dope testing).
The Road to Oregon tool on the World Athletics website shows which athletes – subject to being officially selected by their member federation – have qualified to compete at the World Championships, either by entry standard or world ranking position within a discipline’s quota.