The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has named a strong 31-member squad for the Commonwealth Games 2018, set to happen in Gold Coast, Australia from 4th to 15th April 2018.
The 31-member contingent consists of 18 men and 13 women athletes, who will compete for Glory in the CWG games. Despite having a quota of 37 in athletics, federation decided not to fill the numbers & send only those athletes who have a realistic chance of winning a medal for the country.
In previous edition of Commonwealth Games 2014, Glasgow, India sent 32 track and field athletes and won three medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze).
India would be missing its only gold medal winner in athletics in Glasgow, Vikas Gowda as he missed the 22nd edition of the Federation Cup Athletics Championship, an event made mandatory for participation by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for making the CWG grade.
This time the expectations would be more as Junior World Champion, Javelin Thrower Neeraj Chopra would be making his debut in the CWG Games.
Expect from Neeraj, high jumper Tejaswin Shankar, discus thrower Seema Punia, triple jumper Arpinder Singh would be the names to look after in the athletics.
Seema Punia, who would be competing in her 4th Commonwealth Games, shattered the meet record by throwing the discuss to a distance of 61.05 metres in her final of six attempts, at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala. She would be eyeing to better her last CWG performance where she won the silver medal for the nation.
New 400m hurdles national record holder Dharun Ayyaswamy also made the cut for the Games & would be looking to repeat his record-breaking performance at Australia.
Four 20km race walkers – two men and two women have already been named in the squad while lots of expectations would be there on men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams as both the events have been the strong part for India.
Govindan Lakshmanan (5,000m & 10,000m runner), who competed in World Athletics Championship fall short of the CWG qualifying standard of 13:25:00.
Pole vaulter S Siva who smashed his own Nation Record by clearing a height of 5.15 m in Federation Cup 2018, also fall short of the Commonwealth Games qualifying standard set by the AFI of 5:45 m.
The CWG 2018 athletics team:
Men: Jinson Johnson (men’s 1500m), Dharun Ayyasamy (400m, 4x400m relay), Tejaswin Shankar (high jump), Siddharth Yadav (high jump), Sreeshankar (long jump), Arpinder Singh (triple jump), Rakesh Babu (triple jump), Tajinderpal Singh Toor (shot put), Neeraj Chopra (javelin throw), Vipin Kasana (javelin throw), Irfan Kolothum Thodi (20km race walk), Manish Singh Rawat (20km race walk), Muhammed Anas Yahiya (4x400m relay), Jeevan Karekoppa Suresh (4x400m relay), Amoj Jacob (4x400m relay), Kunhu Mohammed (4x400m relay), Jithu Baby (4x400m relay), Arokiya Rajiv (4x400m relay)
Women: Hima Das (200m & 400m, 4x400m relay), Suriya Longanathan (10000m), Nayana James (long jump), Neena Pinto (long jump), Seema Punia (discus throw), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (discus throw), Purnima Hembram (heptahalon), Soumya Baby (20km race walk), Khushbir Kaur (20km race walk), M R Poovamma (4x400m relay), Sonia Baishya (4x400m relay), Saritaben Laxmanbhai Gayakwad (4x400m relay), Juana Murmu (4x400m relay).