World Athletics: India Begin Campaign in Beijing on Sunday

Indian athletes will begin their campaign in the World Championships in Beijing tomorrow with shot putter Inderjeet Singh facing the severest test of his fledgling career. (Christina Schwanitz Wins Women’s Shot Put World Title)

While three 20km race walkers seek to post their personal bests on the second day of competitions, India will be looking to overcome their poor record in the World Championships. (World Athletics: Eritrea Claim First Gold in Marathon)

India have won just one bronze in 32 years of this championship. Long jumper Anju Bobby George in the 2003 edition in Paris in the event which has been dubbed as the second biggest single sport event after FIFA World Cup.

Anju later finished fourth in the 2005 edition before discus thrower Vikas Gowda ended at seventh both in 2011 and 2013 championships. In fact, Anju and Gowda were the only two athletes to have reached the finals of a World Championships since its inception in 1983.

Gowda will once again be the one on whom India will be banking upon for a best finish, if not a medal. The national record holder has competed in the most number of top flight events this year, having taken part in a few legs of the Diamond League series, even winning a bronze in Shanghai in May. He will have both his qualification and final round events on August 27.

Baljinder Singh, Chandan Singh and Gurmeet Singh will be the Indian faces in men’s 20km race walk, the starting event for Indians early morning tomorrow. Gurmeet Singh, double Asian championships medallist in 2012 and 2013, has been listed 27th among 62 entered in the event.

The Indians will try their best to gain a place among the top-10 in a strong field. Asian champion and World University Games gold medallist shot putter Inderjeet will be the other Indian featuring tomorrow. The 27-year-old Indian tossed the iron ball to a personal best of 20.65m during the Federation Cup at Mangalore and attained both World Championships and Rio Olympics tickets.

The above performance is matching with the cut-off mark, set by the IAAF for throwers to enter the final round in Beijing. Inderjeet has been in an impressive run of form in the recent months but World Championships will be a completely different ball game and he will have to surpass his best to even make it to the finals.

Half-miler Tintu Luka will be making her second appearance at the World Championships (after her first in 2011) and will try her best to attain the Rio Olympics qualification. Ranked 10th among the list of athletes entered in Beijing, the best among the Indian team members, Tintu has every chance to make it to the final although getting a medal could be a remote possibility for the prodigy of legendary PT Usha, who will also be by her side.

India will be fielding three athletes in marathon for the first time at a global competition with OP Jaisha, Lalita Babar and Sudha Singh taking part.

Lalita will also run in her pet 3,000m steeplechase event. Jaisha had erased the 19-year-old Indian record while finishing first in the Indian category of the Mumbai Marathon earlier this year.

Asian Games silver medallist Khushbir Kaur and National Games victor Sapana will be representing India at women’s 20km race walk. In women’s 4x400m relay race, India are ranked 14th among 16 teams on the strength of their performance in last year’s Asian Games (3:28.68).

With Brazil and Germany doubtful to enter their teams, India now moved to 12th place and a clear tactical approach will be necessary to qualify for the final round.

India have named just five runners, including 800m runner Luka, for women’s 4×400 relay after the selection committee of the Athletics Federation of India refused to include Priyanka Panwar as the sixth member.


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