Neeraj Chopra to take part in London World Championships
Neeraj Chopra has been participating in the senior domestic and Asian-level competitions, but the London World Championships will be his maiden big-ticket senior event.Updated: Jul 20, 2017 23:07 IST
The poster boy of Indian athletics, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, is set to enter the big league as he will be one of the athletes to be selected for the World Championships in London from August 4-13.
Though Neeraj has been participating in the senior domestic and Asian-level competitions, the Worlds will be his maiden big-ticket senior event after the under-20 World Championships in Poland last year where he set the world junior record of 86.48 metres.
Since the beginning of this season, the national champion has been the most consistent javelin thrower in the country. In the buildup to the Worlds, he is competing in the one-day Monaco Diamond League on Friday. Before leaving for Monaco, he said, “I have always given my best in top-class competitions and will continue to do so in London.”
Monaco will be Neeraj’s second Diamond League competition. Earlier, he had also participated in the Paris leg, where he finished fifth with a throw of 84.67 metres.
Davinder Singh is other thrower who has qualified for the Worlds, and is likely to get the selection committee nod. Though the AFI panel met on Thursday, it didn’t announce the team.
AFI secretary-general CK Valson had recently said that those athletes who are not consistent in their performance might not get the nod despite qualifying for the Worlds.
Besides the javelin throwers, distance runner G Lakshmanan (Services) --- he has qualified in both 5,000m and 10,000m track races --- is expected to get the green signal. Three marathon runners --- T Gopi, Kheta Ram and Nitender Singh Rawat --- are also gearing up the big event.
Lakshmanan said, his focus would be on 5,000m. “In Asian events, my focus is on winning gold and earn automatic qualification for the world meet. Now, the emphasis will be on clocking a good time.” He will be racing with the likes of double Olympic champion Mo Farah of England.
Services coach Surendra Singh said, all four distance runners have been training hard and was hopeful of good results. “We have plans to go a week before the competition so that athletes get use to the time zone,” he said.
AFI is also planning to field the 4x400m relay team in both men and women’s section. As some top runners didn’t compete in the Inter-state meet at Guntur from July 15-18, there was deliberation on the top six. There is speculation that the AFI might conduct a fitness test for quarter-milers to spot the top six for relay event.
However, it is certain that national record holder Mohammed Anas, who has also qualified for individual 400m, will get the nod. In the women’s section, Nirmala Sheoran is the leading 400m runner. She too has qualified for the individual event.
The AFI is tentatively planning to send more than 20 athletes including members of relay teams.
First Published: Jul 20, 2017 23:07 IST