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Shot-putter Inderjeet targets World Championships after Wuhan gold

Besides the Wuhan gold, the season has also seen him clinch the title at the Federation Cup

other Updated: Jun 10, 2015 03:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

India’s leading shot putter Inderjeet Singh’s fine performance in recent times has firmly put him in the league of top athletes at the continental level, but he feels he needs to crack the 21-metre barrier if he is to break into the highly-competitive world stage.

By virtue of winning gold at the Asian athletics meet at Wuhan, China with a throw of 20.41m, Inderjeet has clinched a berth for the August 22-30 World Championships at Beijing. And the burly thrower from Haryana hopes to carry forward the good form. “I am enjoying a good season. It should help me make the most of the situation at the global meet,” he told HT on his arrival from China.

Besides the Wuhan gold, the season has also seen him clinch the title at the Federation Cup with a personal-best throw of 20.65m, which saw his ranking jump to 19th in the world. But for a podium finish at Beijing, he needs to crack the 21-metre barrier. The shot putter, though, believes it is within his grasp. “It’s just the mental barrier I need to break,” he said.

Life has taught the thrower, who won bronze at the Incheon Asian Games last year, how to overcome the odds. The 26-year-old’s feat wasn’t recognised by the Haryana government, which denied him a job under the sports quota and the sports ministry’s cash award barely helped him clear his debt. “Since I am not earning, every time I venture out of the country, I have to borrow money,” the athlete said.

To top it all, he wasn’t included in the first list of athletes for Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) launched by the ministry. But Inderjeet hasn’t lost hope, and after achieving the Rio qualification mark, he has set his sights high.

Apart from Inderjeet, long-distance runner Lalita Babar also claimed gold in women’s 3000m steeplechase at Wuhan. Her gold-winning performance of 9:34.13sec also earned her a ticket to Rio. She is currently ranked 14th in the world. Babar also has a chance to compete in the marathon at Beijing. She had qualified during the Mumbai marathon in January, clocking 2:38.21.

Middle-distance runner Tintu Luka and discus thrower Vikas Gowda also claimed gold in their respective events in the Asian meet, but missed the Rio qualification mark.

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