Rohit Yadav may hold the spotlight in the National Junior Athletics Championships

Rohit Yadav may hold the spotlight in the National Junior Athletics Championships

Guntur, Nov 1: Sprinters Vasu Spolia and Abhinav Kundal will make history as the first athletics representatives of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the 35th National Junior Athletics Championships beginning on Saturday in the Acharya Nagarjuna University campus here. This competition is the first to be held under the aegis of the Athletics Federation of India after the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories.

Vasu Spolia, who finished third (11.50 seconds) in the boys under-16 100m in the North Zone Junior Athletics Championships in Sangrur in September, is competing in the under-16 100m and 200m events while Abhinav Kundal has been entered to take part in the under-20 200m and 400m sprints.

Maharashtra, with 179 athletes across the four age-groups, , ranging from 12 to 20 years, will be the largest contingent while Haryana (166), Uttar Pradesh (152), Tamil Nadu (148), Kerala (128), Rajasthan (116) and Delhi (119) are the other teams with large squads. As many as 2014 boys and girls from 32 teams will vie for honours in the five-day meet. A five-member team from Bangladesh will add an international flavor to the championships.

One of the keenly watched athletes will be javelin thrower Rohit Yadav. A runner-up last time in the under-18 category, he will compete in the under-20 group here. His confidence will be high after he won the top prize in the National Inter-State Championships in Lucknow with a personal best throw of 78.98m.

The competition assumes significance as it will give the national selectors an indication of the talent available before they select the Indian team for the 19th Asian Junior Athletics Championships to be held in Bangkok from May 14 next year. Besides, the IAAF World U20 Championships is scheduled from July 7 in Nairobi.