Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and long jumper Nayana James are the biggest medal hopes as the Athletics Federation of India on Saturday released the list of athletes to represent India at the Commonwealth Games 2018. The announcement comes a couple of days after the end of the Federation Cup in Patiala, which was a mandatory event for the athletes to meet qualifying criteria.
The Athletics contingent will consist of 31 members; 18 men and 13 women including the two 4 X 400 metre relay teams.
Two medallists from Glasgow will feature this time around, discus thrower Seema Punia and triple jumper Arpinder Singh making the cut for the Gold Coast squad. Among the other hopefuls will be high jumper Tejaswin Shankar, who equalled his own national record in Patiala.
The selection committee, headed by Chairman of the Selection Committee GS Randhawa met at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala to decide the team post the Federation Cup and stuck to their guidelines in most cases, barring one or two athletes.
In the men’s section, Rakesh Babu AV managed 16.59 metres in the triple jump at the Indian Grand Prix and Shreeshankar M had an attempt of 7.99 metres in the Long Jump, missing their marks by 1 centimetre but were considered. Vipin Kasana, who managed a 80.04 metres at the IGP, was also in the team and will be the second javelin thrower after Neeraj, who won the Federation Cup with an attempt of 85.94 metres.
Purnima Hembram missed the heptathlon cut-off by 11 points but was nonetheless considered for the quadrennial meet. Neena Pinto, who missed the long jump mark by 4 cm with her IGP attempt of 6.41 metres will be accompanying Fed Cup and IGP winner Nayana.
Hima Das, the find of the meet, will be in three events, the 200 metres, the 400 m and the 4 X 400 metre relay team. Despite a stand-off between non campers and the AFI prior to the Fed Cup, Arokia Rajiv, Muhammed Anas and MR Povamma will be a part of their respective relay teams.
The four racewalkers, Manish Rawat, Irfan KT, Khushbir Kaur and Soumya Baby will also be a part of the squad.