Patiala, February 17: A total of 85 athletes have registered to take part in the Indian Grand Prix I meet, the first track and field competition for senior athletes under the aegis of the Athletics Federation of India since the outbreak of Covid-19 last year, at the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports complex here on Thursday.
The three Grands Prix meets at the same venue – the other two to be held on February 25 and March 5 – are more in the nature of warm-up events for the AFI Federation Cup, slated here from March 15. The first of the three Grands Prix will offer some indication of the eagerness of the Indian athletes to retain their edge ahead of the Olympic Games.
“We are pleased that track and field competition for seniors is resuming after a long break. We have had some excellent results in the three national-level meets held in the last three weeks in Bhopal, Guwahati and Ranchi and we believe that we will see similar enthusiasm and energy in the senior ranks as well,” AFI President Adille J Sumariwalla said.
Among the other men who will draw attention of track and field fans are Muhammad Anas Yahiya and Amiya Kumar Mallick (100m), Arokia Rajiv and Noah Nirmal Tom (200m), Amoj Jacob (800m), Dharun Ayyasamy (400m Hurdles) and Yugant Shekhar Singh (Long Jump). The last named will be returning to competitive athletics after four years for a doping violation.
In the women’s events, which will see 27 athletes in action, the spotlight will be trained on the likes of Dutee Chand (100m), Anjali Devi and Subha Venkatesan (200m), MR Poovamma and VK Salini (400m) and Chanda (800m).
The athletes, coaches and other support personnel have each been asked to secure a RTPCR test for COVID-19 and submit the report upon entering NIS Campus before they are allowed in and receive their bibs. AFI has mandated that the report should have bene generated less than 72 hours before the commencement of the Grand Prix.
A total of 15 events, including two races each in the men’s 100m and 200m sprints, are on the cards in this year’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix.