Patiala, February 26: As many as 67 athletes, including 29 women, will compete in the inaugural Indian Open Throws Competition 2022 at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports here on Sunday. It marks the start of the athletics calendar at the National level for the year, the first event since the National Open Javelin Throw Championships on October 23.
The Athletics Federation of India has launched the Throws Competition and the Jumps Competition (March 1, Thiruvananthapuram) this year to offer the athletes an additional event to prepare for three major international meets that follow this season, the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships and the Asian Games.
Besides, as many as 19 teenaged competitors will use the event to qualify for and continue their preparations for the World Athletics U20 Championships to be held at Santiago de Cali in Colombia in August. That more than 41 per cent of those who have entered the Throws Competition are between the age of 18 and 20 is a fair indication of the interest among youth.
On Sunday, the men’s Shot Put competition is due to feature Asian Games champion Tajinderpal Singh Toor who returns after a wrist surgery in September last. The event also features Karanveer Singh, who was the only other athlete to touch the 20m mark last year. There are two other entrants from the 20m Club – Om Prakash Singh Karhana and Saurabj Vij.
The Javelin Throw features 22-year-old Sahil Silwal as the only one in the entry list with a personal best over 80m. Abhishek Singh, whose best throw last year was 79.63m, can spice up the contest. Rohit Yadav, Abhishek Drall and Arshdeep Singh will each be keen to ramp up his performance and secure entry into the 80m Club this season.
In the women’s events, the spotlight will be on the vastly experienced Seema Antil and Sarita R Singh. The senior-most female athlete in the competition Seema Antil finished among the select band of four Asian women Discus Throwers who broke the 60m barrier in 2021. Sarita Singh owns six of the top 10 Hammer Throws by any Indian woman
In the absence of her younger namesake who had 17.07m effort to be in Asia’s top 10 list for women’s Shot Put last year and Kiran Baliyan, who managed 16.99m in the National Open Championships, the seasoned campaigner Manpreet Kaur will look to regain the pride of place at the top of the podium.