Glasgow Commonwealth Games: Lack of preparation no issue for athletics coach
Not ideal: Short on practice, elite Indian athletes head to the Commonwealth Games with hopes of podium finishes. Will the lack of preparedness hamper them in Glasgow? Chief coach, Bahadur Singh, doesn't think so.other Updated: Jul 19, 2014 15:37 IST
At a time when Dani Samuels was stamping her class, she set a personal best of 66.81m, in women's discus at the Australian national championships at Melbourne in April, India's top women discus throwers, Krishna Poonia and Seema Antil (Poonia), were busy losing weight after a not-so-good off-season.
Dani, one of the favourites at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, further polished her skills by participating in the Shanghai Diamond League in May, winning silver with a throw of 67.89m.
In comparison, defending champion Krishna and Seema failed to cross the 60m mark this season. The duo missed the inter-state meet at Lucknow in June and preferred to compete in low-key events in the US in preparation for the Commonwealth Games, which begin on July 23.
Will the lack of preparedness hamper them in Glasgow? Chief coach, Bahadur Singh, didn't agree. "After the domestic meet in June, those bound for Glasgow had to undergo a fitness test in the national camp. It served the purpose ahead of the major competition," he told HT.
Barring the US-based Vikas Gowda, the discus thrower participated in several events in the build-up to Glasgow, other top Indian athletes didn't get the privilege.
For them, the season began on a low key. The Indian Grand Prix and Asian Grand Prix were cancelled, which denied them a chance to evaluate their performance. The national inter-state in June was the only chance most of them got to showcase their skills.
If the chief coach is to be believed, these issues will not be a disadvantage. "The performance of the contingent will be better away from the home turf," he said.
On excluding the men's 4x100m relay squad and triple jumper Renjith Maheswary from the CWG squad, Bahadur said their performance wasn't up to the mark. Incidentally, the relay team had won bronze at the 2010 edition in Delhi. Maheswary, according to him, could not clear the fitness test.
Meanwhile, even as the first batch reached Glasgow, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) announced a 32-member squad for the Games. Initially, AFI had shortlisted over 40 athletes but the final list was pruned to 32.