New Delhi: The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) selection committee has picked Hima Das among the 25-member national team comprising 16 men and nine women for the IAAF World Championships to be held in Doha, Qatar, from September 27 to October 6.
With less than a year to go for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the squad will carry the hopes of the track and field fans of the country.
The AFI believes that the 4x400-metre relay teams will all perform better than they did in the World Relays in Yokohama in May last. “We have invested a lot of time in the 400m runners, getting them to train under renowned coach Galina Bukharina. We believe that the squad has been well prepared to deliver the best results on the World stage,” AFI President Adille J. Sumariwalla said.
Metric miler Jinson Johnson, who is now training with coach Scott Simmons in Colorado Springs, US, has caught the eye with his consistency. In the recent months, he improved his own National record in the 1,500-metre twice, first with a time of 3:37.62 mins in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, on June 15 and then 3:35.24 mins in Berlin on September 1 to make the grade.
Long jumper M. Sreeshankar, among the first Indians to attain the IAAF qualifying standard with a leap of 8.20 metres in the National Open Championships in Bhubaneswar in September last year, has regained form after a heel injury kept him away from the Asian Championships in Doha in April. He recently found the 8-metre mark again and will gain from competing on the big stage.
While 400-metre runner Arokia Rajiv is unavailable due to injury, the selectors decided to discuss the case of javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who is undergoing rehabilitation programme after an elbow surgery, at a later stage. Selection committee also approved the names of sprinters Dutee Chand (100 metres), Archana Suseentran (200 metres) and high-jumper Tejaswin Shankar subject to invitation from IAAF based on their world rankings.
Men: Jabir MP (400m hurdles), Jinson Johnson (1,500m), Avinash Sable (3,000m steeplechase), KT Irfan and Devender Singh (20km race walk), Gopi T (Marathon), Sreeshankar M (Long jump), Tajinder Pal Singh Toor (shot put), Shivpal Singh (Javelin), Muhammed Anas, Nirmal Noah Tom, Alex Antony, Amoj Jacob, KS Jeevan, Dharun Ayyasamy and Harsh Kumar (4x400m men’s & mixed relay).
Women: PU Chitra (1,500m), Annu Rani (Javelin), Hima Das, Vismaya VK, Poovamma MR, Jisna Mathew, Revathi V, Subha Venkatsan, Vithya R (4x400m women & mixed relay).