Olympian Lalita Babar to skip Federation Cup athletics meet
The Rio Olympic Games finalist in 3,000m steeplechase, Lalita Babar is skipping the competition, which is the last chance for top athletes to make the cut for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games beginning April 4.Updated: Mar 03, 2018 18:16 IST
India’s star distance runner Lalita Babar will be a notable absentee for the Run Adam 22nd Federation Cup meet starting Monday in Patiala on March 5.
The Rio Olympic Games finalist in 3,000m steeplechase, Lalita is skipping the competition, which is the last chance for top athletes to make the cut for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games beginning April 4.
Chief coach Bahadur Singh said, since Lalita had been busy with personal work, her fitness isn’t good for achieving good results at the moment. “She should be fit for the Asian Games in August,” he added.
The Maharashtra runner shot into the limelight during the Rio Games by setting a national record of 9:19.76 secs in the heat and became the first Indian to enter the final after a gap of 32 years. She eventually finished 10th with a time of 9:22.74 secs. Thereafter, due to personal engagement she took a break from running and her performance graph took a nosedive.
Recently, she made a comeback finishing second in the women’s national 10km cross-country race held in Goa.
Lalita’s absence, said Sudha Singh, will be felt during the race. “She is a tough competitor and it’s always good to race with her,” said Sudha, adding that she had good chance of achieving the qualifying mark of 9: 34 secs.
It’s no secret that the track and field event at the CWG is challenging. The high standard has also compelled the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to set stiff qualifying marks. The women’s 5,000m qualifying mark of 15:09 sec, according to national-level coach Vijender Singh from Nashik is a bit difficult. “A few athletes might achieve the qualifying standard in track races. But there are more chances in field events,” he said.
Apart from the four-member race-walking team, three athletes in field events, including javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, have also earned a ticket for the Commonwealth Games. Long jumper Nayana James and women’s discus thrower Navjeet Kaur Dhillon are the other two.
After the four-day Federation Cup meet, the AFI selection panel will announce the national team.