The past few months had kept 400m runner Anu Raghavan busy, as she trained hard to make an impact in the new season. The Kerala runner, however, was surprised not to find her name in the athletics squad for the South Asian Games (SAG), beginning in Guwahati from February 5.
To select the team, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had taken the results of the Open Nationals in September into consideration. Raghavan had emerged victorious in the 400m hurdles, clocking 58.73 seconds, and is clueless on being ignored.
“I should have been in the team. It would have been a good platform to evaluate performance for the coming season, it’s a setback,” she told HT.
Unofficially, Raghavan has been informed that she was overlooked as she had refused to accompany the national team on the exposure tour to Turkey in December.
AFI secretary-general CK Valson had hinted on the consequences, saying indiscipline would not be tolerated. He had said it would be difficult to select those athletes who had skipped the camp.
Officially, the federation is yet to announce the final team. Instead of Raghavan, the AFI plans to field Ashwini Akkunji, who spent almost the entire 2015 season on the bench but was a part of the exposure trip to Turkey.
Jauna Murmu, who finished behind Raghavan in the Open Nationals, is likely to be the second athlete for the low hurdles. The core group of 400m runners, including the men, is currently training in Thiruvananthapuram.
Most of the top athletes had opted to skip the season-ending meet in September. Top sprinters like Dharamvir Singh and Amiya Mallick had also skipped the national camp in Thiruvananthapuram. The AFI didn’t call them for the final selection trials of the 4x100m relay at Thiruvananthapuram in December. For individual sprint events, according to Valson, athletes would be selected from those present. “Absentees would not be entertained,” he said.
During the trials, Rahul Kumar of Uttar Pradesh topped the list with a time of 10.91 secs, which is far slower than Dharamvir’s 10.46 secs, which he clocked during the National Games in Kerala.
In the women’s section, the federation will field Dutee Chand and Srabani Nanda in 100m and 200m. Both sprinters had participated in the relay trials at Thiruvananthapuram, with Dutee leading the field.