Having a season best of 21.77m, the 28 years old Tajinderpal Singh Toor is all set to defend his men’s shot put title at the July 12-16 Asian Athletics Championships to be held in Bangkok, Thailand. “He (Toor) has a bright chance of winning a gold medal,” chief athletics coach Radhakrishnan Nair said.
The Indian contingent will leave tonight for the continental competition in batches from Delhi and Bengaluru, the chief athletics coach added.
At the 2019 edition of the Asian Athletics Championships held in Doha, Qatar, the Indian shot putter won gold with a throw of 20.22m. Since then Toor has gained more experience and currently leading shot putter at the continental level (21.77m).
“Training has been on expected lines. I’m hopeful to improve my performance in Bangkok,” the national record holder in shot put said.
Besides men’s shot put, javelin throw, long jump and triple jump are the other three field events the chief national athletics coach has pinned his hopes for a medal.
International javelin thrower Rohit Yadav, Manu DP; long jumper Murali Sreeshankar and triple jumpers Praveen Chithravel and Abdulla Aboobacker will be one to watch during the five-day continental competition in Thailand. “The middle and long distance runners (800m, 1500m and 5000m) too have a good chance of podium in Bangkok,” Radhakrishnan Nair added. “Decathlon (Tejaswin Shankar) is also a strong point this time.”
Focus in the women’s track race will be 100m hurdle, 200m, 800m, 5000m and 3000m steeplechase. Andhra Pradesh’s International 100m hurdles specialist Jyothi Yarraji will make her continental debut in Bangkok. Going by her current performance she has clocked sub-13 seconds in 100m hurdles a couple of times this season, she is considered a medal contender. She will also compete in the 200m event.
Commonwealth Games bronze medalist in women’s javelin throw, Annu Rani will also look ahead to add another continental medal to her kitty. At the 2019 edition of the continental championship in Doha, she won silver.
Swapna Barman (heptathlon), Shaili Singh and Ancy Sojan (both long jump) are other athletes in the field events who have a good chance of winning medals in Bangkok, the chief athletics coach added.
“We are also hopeful of winning medals in the men’s 4x400m relay and mixed 4x400m relay in Thailand,” Radhakrishnan Nair said.
In the 2019 edition held in Doha, Indian contingent won 16 medals, two of them gold, seven silver and equal number of bronze medals to finish fifth in the medal tally. Bahrain, China, Japan and Uzbekistan finished in that order.
The continental competition in 2021 was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but is back 2023.
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