India’s Olympic hopeful runner Beant Singh injured, out of Asian meet

Beant Singh, the 18-year-old junior national 800m champion, had graduated to the senior level in 2015 but a left knee injury suffered last month will keep him out of the qualifying competitions for next month’s continental meet.

other sports Updated: Jun 16, 2017 22:45 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Beant Singh,Asian athletics championships,Lalita Babar
Beant Singh will miss the Asian Athletics Championships from July 6 to 9 due to injury. (AP )

India’s Olympic hopeful in track and field, Beant Singh, will miss the Asian athletics championships to be held in Bhubaneswar from July 6 to 9 due to injury.

The 18-year-old junior national 800m champion had graduated to the senior level in 2015, but a left knee injury suffered last month will keep him out of the qualifying competitions for next month’s continental meet.

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The runner says it might take him another four to six weeks to get back to normal training. “There was no pain during a jogging session today. Hope it is getting better,” he told HT on Friday.

Nonetheless he isn’t thinking of rushing back to hard training. “Will just see how things pan out in the coming days,” he said.

Coaching issue

In January, Beant was included in the national camp and came under the wings of Belarusian middle and long distance expert Nikolai Snesarev.

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The coach and athlete partnership however didn’t go on expected lines and Beant’s performances in the last six months have not been impressive. Initially Beant, it is learnt, he responded well to Snesarev’s training methods. There was even hope the 800m national record of 1:45.77 secs, set by Sriram Singh at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, would be finally bettered.

In 2016, Beant clocked 1:48.51 secs in a domestic meet, which is his personal best. In the last two years, he has shown gradual improvement. (see box).

Pushed too hard

Too much training, it is learnt, is one of the reasons for Beant’s injury. Apart from Beant, more than 15 upcoming athletes in the camp are on the injured list and have all quit the camp.

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Snesarev though refused to speak on the development, and only said: “The situation is very stressful for me, I can’t speak to you at this moment.”

Snesarev’s past results have been good. He guided three women’s athletes, Lalita Babar, Sudha Singh (3000m steeplechase) and OP Jaisha (marathon) to achieve the qualification marks for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Lalita Babar went on to qualify for the final, a first by an Indian female athlete in the event.

However, this year his athletes are struggling at national meets. Meenu Kumari finished third in women’s 10,000m in the recent Federation Cup at Patiala. In the 800m, after favourite Tintu Lukka failed to complete the race due to exhaustion, Archana Adhav won gold in an ordinary time of 2:05.66secs.

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The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adille Sumariwala said it doesn’t interfere in the coaching system. “He (Snesarev) is known as a hard task master. Some athletes might not click with his training methods,” the former sprinter said.

At 16 when Beant won gold at the 2015 Asian youth meet in Doha clocking 1:52.26 secs, he was considered an Olympic hopeful for 2020. Down the line, his training has been interrupted by injury.

Former International quarter-miler Dinesh Rawat, who was Beant’s coach in his formative years, says the athlete has to respect injury. “Patience pays. Rushing back will do no good,” he said.


Gradual improvement

2014: 1:51.06 secs

2015: 1:49.95 secs

2016: 1:48.51 secs

2017: On injured list

2017: To miss Asian meet

First Published: Jun 16, 2017 22:45 IST