Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, Long jumper Nayana James and Discus thrower Navjeet Kaur Dhillon crossed the qualification standards set by the Athletics Federation of India for the Commonwealth Games at the Indian Grand Prix in Patiala on Tuesday.
The three athletes won their respective events at the annual meet while the rest of the field will have another shot at the Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships to be held, starting March 5.
Chopra, coming back from a training stint in Germany, managed a throw of 82.88 metres which was enough for him to clinch gold and qualification for Gold Coast. Vipin Kasana with a 80.04 metres and Amit Kumar with 77.33 metres came second and third but could not cross the qualifying mark of 81.80.
Nayana James also sealed qualification when she jumped 6.47 metres for the first spot. Neena Pinto with a jump of 6.41 metres came close to the winner from Kerala and the AFI qualifying standard of 6.45. Poornima Hembram of 5.99 metres was third.
Navjeet Kaur Dhillon became the third athlete to qualify for CWG 2018 in the Discus Throw event. She just about cleared the benchmark of 59 metres by managing a 59.18 metre throw. Parbathi Sethi, who threw 42.58 metres, was second.
Elsewhere, Dutee Chand and Annu Rani also won their respective events but failed to meet the qualifying standards. Chand’s time of 11.57 seconds was way off the 11.16 mark needed to qualify while Rani managed a 56.90 metres, but wasn’t close to the 62.50 metres needed to make the Commonwealth Games.
Also coming close to the qualifying guideline was triple jumper Rakesh Babu. The Kerala jumper managed a best of 16.59m on coming a centimeter short of the AFI standard of 16.60m. Babu’s effort however was good enough to win gold, edging Commonwealth bronze medalist Arpinder Singh who managed a best of 16.45m. National record holder Renjith Maheshwary finished third with a jump of 16.09m.
Amongst the other bright performers of the day were MP Jabir who claimed the 400m hurdles gold with a time of 50.60 seconds, just shy of his personal best. Jabir finished ahead of Santhosh Kumar (50.85 seconds) and Binu Jose (52.77seconds).
Upcoming triple jumper Renu produced a mini upset on the day with a jump 13.26m enough to pip the 13.08m effort of NV Sheena, a silver medalist at last months Asian Indoor Championships in Tehran. 18-year-old Hima Das too gave a strong account of herself with a personal best timing of 11.74 seconds, finishing behind Dutee Chand.