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London Olympics 2012

SPECTACULOR OPENING

The Olympic Games returned to London, the British capital, for the third time in its history on Friday, the 27th July 2012.  Earlier London hosted the Olympics in 1908 and 1948.  This year’s Games were formally opened by Queen Elizabeth-II in a ceremony blended with humour.  If a scenic helicopter ride of the Queen from Buckingham Palace to Olympic Park, escorted by British movie hero James Bond, and parachuted in to the main stadium moved the entire 80,000 spectators in to their seat-edge, the dreaming Mr. Bean trying to live-up with the heroes of “Chariots of Fire” took everyone to the bay-side comedy.  The ceremony evolves British life, industrial revolution and modern technology as film-maker Danny Boyle designed it a memorable one besides the customary March Past of 205 participating teams.

 The first week’s proceedings in London Olympics witnessed mixed fortune for participating nations.  In the hunt for medal last edition’s leader China continue to stay atop with four other nations from Asia figured among the Top-10 to date.  America’s legendary swimmer Michael Phelps, nicknamed Baltimore Bullet, entered history as he clinched his 19th medal here.  He now has the records for Most Medals (19), More Gold Medals (15) and More Gold at one edition (8) in the Olympic Games.  The Games also had its sad side of tale as eight players from the World’s top three Badminton playing nations—China, Korea and Indonesia—have been expelled from the Games following a scandal involved throwing of their matches, a scenario never occurred in the past.

 INDIA @ LONDON

As for as India is concerned, shooter Gagan Narang helped the nation to figure on the medals table with his bronze medal after defending champion Abhinav Bindra fails to make it to the final in the Royal Artillery Barracks.   While the archers, including the World No.1 Deepika Kumari shoved away in swirl winds, the hockey players, weight-lifters and the Judoka Garima Chaudhary also fails to gain higher places in their respective arena.  However, at the time of writing these lines, our Boxers and Badminton stars Kashyap and Saina Nehwal entered quarter finals and keep the Indian hopes alive.

 ATHLETICS

The Athletics, mother of all sports, is set to commence on August 3 and everyone—be it an athlete or coach or a mere fan—is keen to watch the 10 days of spectre and spectacles on Olympic Park as well as on the roads of London which hosts the Marathon and Race Walking.

 A record number of 200 national teams sending 2236 athletes, comprising 1163 men and 1073 women, to London Olympics.  Once again our sport athletics takes a lion’s share in the total number of competitors (around 8000).    Four nations—Aruba, Bhutan, Luxembourg and Nauru—are not taking part in athletics.  However two athletes, Liemarvin Bonevacia in 400m and Guor Marial in Marathon, are taking part under the Independent Olympic Athletes (IOA) flag.

 Although a false start sent him out from the Daegue Worlds 100m and a double-blow which he suffered in the hands of training-partner Yohan Blake at the Jamaican Olympic Trials last month, world-record holder and defending champion Usain Bolt remain confident of winning both the sprints (100/200) besides the 4x100m relay in London.  Along with Blake and the American elite Tyson Gay, Bolt is all set to conquer the World once again with yet another marvellous show.  

 In spite of the Jamaican Wall, the U.S. pinned their confidence on their track and field athletes to take them high on the board above the mighty Chinese who emerged as a sporting power-house since Beijing-2008.   High hurdler Liu Xiang, who disappointed his fans four years ago when his country hosted the Games, is eager to make amends in London.

 14 INDIAN ATHLETES IN LONDON

Fourteen Indian athletes achieved Olympic qualification standards—half of them with “A” grade—and arrived at London with high hopes.  Six of the fourteen qualifiers are women athletes.   Leading the Indian challenge on athletics arena are Vikas Gowda in men’s discus throw and his counterparts Krishna Poonia and Seema Antil in the same event on the women’s side.   Although we sent a bigger team to past editions of the Olympic Games, it is the first time we field a large number of athletes taking part in individual events ever since the qualification standards are come in to effect from Sydney-2000.

 Here is the list of Indian athletes taking part in London-2012 with their personal best marks:

 MEN

  1. Vikas Gowda – Discus Throw – 66.28m (2012)
  2. Om Prakash Singh – Shot Put – 20.69m (2012)
  3. Gurmeet Singh – 20 Km Walk – 1:20:35 (2011)
  4. Baljinder Singh – 20 Km Walk – 1:22:12 (2012)
  5. K.T. Irfan – 20 Km Walk – 1:22:09 (2012)
  6. Ram Singh Yadav – Marathon – 2:16:59 (2012)
  7. Renjith Maheswary – Triple Jump – 17.07m (2010)
  8. Basant Bahadur Rana – 50 Km Walk – 4:02:13 (2012)

WOMEN

  1. Krishna Poonia – Discus Throw – 64.76m (2012)
  2. Seema Antil – Discus Throw – 64.84m (2004)
  3. Mayookha Johny – Triple Jump – 14.11m (2011)
  4. Tintu Luka – 800m Run – 1:59.17 (2010)
  5. Sudha Singh – Steeplechase – 9:47.70 (2012)
  6. Sahana Kumari – High Jump – 1.92m (2012)

 The athletics events of the London Olympics will take off on 3rd August with three of our Indian athletes taking part on the opening day.  Shot putter Om Prakash Singh Karhana will be the first athlete to enter the field as the qualification round for the above event is scheduled as the first on the cards at 10:00 a.m. London time (3:30 p.m. IST).  He needs to put the iron ball to 20.65m in order to qualify for final—a tough task indeed.  The women’s triple jump qualifier that follows 25 minutes later will have Mayookha Johny with an even tougher 14.40m yardstick to achieve.  Discus throwers Krishna Poonia and Seema Antil have to throw 63m or above in order to qualify in the after-noon session that day.   The opening day will also see two finals—men’s shot put and women’s 10000m run.

 For the first time in the Olympic history India fields four race walkers—three in 20 km and one in 50 km distance.   Although the three 20 km walkers achieved the elite “A” standard, their timings are 3-4  minutes behind that of the World’s best.  So they need to put some extra effort in order to finish among the Top-8.   Ranjit Singh’s 18th place finish in 1980 at Moscow Olympics remains the best for India in 20 km while Zora Singh have the creditable 8th place at 1960 in Rome for the 50 km event.  The race walking is a complicated event whereas it is difficult to determine whether an athlete is actually walks or run during the competition.  Here is a guide which explain you about the race walking—

http://www.iaaf.org/mm/Document/06/61/22/66122_PDF_English.pdf

 ATHLETICS TIME-TABLE

MEN:

100m – prelim 4 Aug;  semis/Final 5 Aug

200m – heats 7 Aug;  semis 8 Aug;  Final 9 Aug

400m – heats 4 Aug;  semis 5 Aug;  Final 6 Aug

800m – heats 6 Aug;  semis 7 Aug;  Final 9 Aug

1500m – heats 3 Aug;  semis 5 Aug;  Final 7 Aug

5000m – heats 8 Aug;  Final 11 Aug

10000m – 4 Aug

Marathon – 12 Aug

Steeplechase – heats 3 Aug;  Final 5 Aug

110m Hurdles – heats 7 Aug;  semis/Final 8 Aug

400m Hurdles – heats 3 Aug;  semis 4 Aug;  Final 6 Aug

High Jump – qualification 5 Aug;  Final 7 Aug

Pole Vault – qualification 8 Aug;  Final 10 Aug

Long Jump – qualification 3 Aug;  Final 4 Aug

Triple Jump – qualification 7 Aug;  Final 9 Aug

Shot Put – qualification/Final 3 Aug

Discus Throw – qualification 6 Aug;  Final 7 Aug

Hammer Throw – qualification 3 Aug;  Final 5 Aug

Javelin Throw – qualification 8 Aug;  Final 11 Aug

Decathlon – 8/9 Aug

20 Km Walk – 4 Aug  

50 Km Walk – 11 Aug

4x100m Relay – heats 10 Aug;  Final 11 Aug

4x400m Relay – heats 9 Aug;  Final 10 Aug

WOMEN:

100m – prelim 3 Aug;  semis/Final 4 Aug

200m – heats 6 Aug;  semis 7 Aug;  Final 8 Aug

400m – heats 3 Aug;  semis 4 Aug;  Final 5 Aug

800m – heats 8 Aug;  semis 9 Aug;  Final 11 Aug

1500m – heats 6 Aug;  semis 8 Aug;  Final 10 Aug

5000m – heats 7 Aug;  Final 10 Aug

10000m – 3 Aug

Marathon – 5 Aug

Steeplechase – heats 4 Aug;  Final 6 Aug

100m Hurdles – heats 6 Aug;  semis/Final 7 Aug

400m Hurdles – heats 5 Aug;  semis 6 Aug;  Final 8 Aug

High Jump – qualification 9 Aug;  Final 11 Aug

Pole Vault – qualification 4 Aug;  Final 6 Aug

Long Jump – qualification 7 Aug;  Final 8 Aug

Triple Jump – qualification 3 Aug;  Final 5 Aug

Shot Put – qualification/Final 6 Aug

Discus Throw – qualification 3 Aug;  Final 4 Aug

Hammer Throw – qualification 8 Aug;  Final 10 Aug

Javelin Throw – qualification 7 Aug;  Final 9 Aug

Heptathlon – 3/4 Aug

20 Km Walk – 11 Aug  

4x100m Relay – heats 9 Aug;  Final 10 Aug

4x400m Relay – heats 10 Aug;  Final 11 Aug

 WRITE TO US

Readers, please feel free to share your views on Olympics and Athletics.    Please mail your comments and suggestions to editor@indianathletics.in

 / Ram. Murali Krishnan /

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