Bengaluru, Oct 14: Amlan Borgohain and Jyothi Yarraji have made such waves with their speed on track in the recent times that it is natural for them to be the centre of attention ahead of the 61st AFI National Open Athletics Championships at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here from tomorrow.
As recently as in the 36th National Games in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, sprinter Amlan Borgohain (Services) and 100m Hurdler Jyothi Yarraji, the Andhra Pradesh athlete who will turn out for Railways here, were scorching the track by winning a golden double each. They will have to handle the pressure of expectation in delivering quality performances here.
In the recent domestic competitions, the men’s Long Jumpers and Triple Jumpers have trained the spotlight on themselves. However, with Long Jumpers M Sreeshankar, Jeswin Alrdrin and Muhammed Anees Yahiya and Triple Jumpers Eldhose Paul, Abdulla Aboobacker and Praveen Chithravel skipping the meet, the interest around the sand pits may come down a bit.
With Tokyo2020 Javelin Throw gold medalist Neeraj Chopra and Commonwealth Games 3000m Steeplechase silver medalist Avinash Sable not featuring in the entry list, it would be up to Tajinderpal Singh Toor, now on comeback mode after an injury prevented him from going to the Shot Put circle in the World Championships in July. to shine for the experienced hands.
As many as 868 athletes from 31 teams, including four institutions, will vie for honours in the five-day competition. Being the only team with more than 100 athletes, Railways has the largest number of entries. With a 50-strong women’s squad, the most for any team, Railways has a total of 103 entries.
Interestingly, for the first time, Services will have representation in the women’s competition, with 400m runner Summy joining the Army recently. Among the States and Union Territories, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are fielding the biggest contingents with 87 and 80 athletes respectively. Assam and Ladakh will have the smallest teams with two athletes each.
Four finals are scheduled for the opening day with the men and women’s 20km Race Walk staring the proceedings while women Pole Vaulters, notably Rosy Meena Paulraj who set a National Record in the National Games in Gandhinagar, and Discus Throwers will be competing for medals in the afternoon.