Team India Athletics : Profiles

Seema Antil Punia

(Born July 27, 1983): The most-experienced athlete in the Indian team, Seema will be competing in her fourth Olympic Games in Tokyo, having made her debut in 2004. The strapping discus thrower best showing in the biggest celebration of sport came in London in 2012 when she finished 12th with a best throw of 61.91m. She would have made it to the 12-thrower final had Russian Darya Pischalnikova, who had tested positive for a banned substance in May 2012, been barred from the competition. But the Russian, who finished in silver medal position, was disqualified only in February 2013. Seeema won the Asian Games gold medal in 2014 and added a bronze in 2018 besides three silver medals and a bronze in her four successive Commonwealth Games appearances. She qualified for Tokyo2020 with a personal best effort of 63.72m on June 29, the final day of qualifications.


(Born June 8, 1996): India’s top 400m hurdler earned himself a ticket to Tokyo2020 with a string of good performances in the qualifying period. The athlete from Thavanoor in Mallapuram district in Kerala won bronze medals in successive Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar in 2017 and Doha in 2019. With sustained training in the National Camps, he recorded his first sub-50 seconds time in the Federation Cup in Patiala in March 2019 and has consistently been able to dip in under 50 seconds, attaining his career best showing (49.13 seconds) in the Asian Championships in Doha. He qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games on the strength of his world ranking of 25, his time of 49.78 seconds in the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Patiala on June 26 earning him valuable points.

Tajinder Pal Toor

(Born November 13, 1994): Consistency is a hallmark of this athlete from Moga district in Punjab as he has constantly sought improvement in his performance. Having surfaced at the international level in the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar in 2017, Tajinderpal Singh Toor has been one of India’s best bets. An eighth place in the tough Commonwealth Games in 2018 was followed by Asian Games gold with a put of 20.75m, good for National Record and as a new Asian Games record as well. He improved on that showing in the National Open Athletics Championships in Ranchi on October 12, 2019, when he found a great rhythm. After breaching the Olympic Qualifying Standard with an Asian Record distance of 21.49m in the Indian Grand Prix 4 in Patiala on June 21, Tajinderpal Singh Toor is now ranked 19 in the World Athletics Shot Put rankings.

Neeraj Chopra

(Born December 24, 1997): The Javelin Thrower must now be among India’s most recognised athletes. The long-haired lad from Haryana first caught the fans’ imagination when he won the World Junior Athletics Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on July 23, 2016, with a throw of 86.48m. In 2018, he won gold in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast (86.47m) and the Asian Games in Jakarta (88.06m) but had to take time off for rest and rehabilitation owing to an elbow injury. He secured qualification for the Olympic Games with a throw of 87.86m in the ACNW League Meeting 1 in Potchefstroom, South Africa, to mark his return to competition after 16 months in rehabilitation. He improved his own National Record to 88.07m in the Indian Grand Prix 1 in Patiala on March 5, 2021. Subsequently, he has thrown 86.79m in the Kuortane Games in Finland on June 27, 2021.

Sreeshankar Murali

(Born March 27, 1999): He served notice of his potential to be India’s premier Long Jumper when he won the bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Gifu, Japan, barely two months after recovering from an appendix surgery. The jumper from Palakkad in Kerala then had a sixth-place finish in the Asian Games in Jakarta on August 26, 2018. A month later, he broke Ankit Sharma’s National Record with a stunning jump across 8.20m in the National Open Championships in Bhubaneswar.The second-generation jumper improved his National Recordto 8.26m in the Federation Cup in Patiala on March 16 this year to go past the Olympic Qualifying Standard and book his ticket for Tokyo2020. One of the 23 jumpers who earned automatic qualification to Tokyo2020, he is now ranked World No. 38 in Long Jump.

Shivpal Singh

(Born July 6, 1995): This Javelin Thrower from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh punched turf at 85.47m in the ACNW Meet in Potchefstroom, South Africa, on March 10, 2020, to secure a place in Tokyo2020. Having taken to the event like a duck to water since he grew up in a family of javelin throwers, he showed improvement since breaching the 80m mark for the first time in the National Inter-State Athletics Championships on June 28, 2018. An elbow injury saw him finish eighth in the Asian Games later that year. But he bounced back with the silver medal with a personal best throw of 86.23m in the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships in Doha and backed that up with the gold (83.33m) in the World Military Games in Wuhan on October 24, 2019. He is one the 22 throwers in the 32-man field who met the Entry Standard laid down by World Athletics. He is now ranked World No. 18.


(Born February 8, 1990): Called the Mallapuram Express, the vastly experienced Irfan leads the Indian challenge in the 20km Race-Walking competition in the Olympic Games. Son of a humble daily wage-earner in Kerala, Irfan finished in the 10th place with a memorable effort in the 2012 London Olympic Games, clocking 1:20:21 after lying fifth at the 8km mark. He was fifth in the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea (1:23:18). Irfan returns for his second Olympic Games after missing out in 2016 because of a stress fracture. He was the first Indian athlete to qualify for Tokyo2020 when he finished fourth in the Asian Race-Walking Championships in Nomi, Japan, on March 17, 2019. He has recovered from Covid-19 and is looking forward to putting his best foot forward in Tokyo.

Dutee Chand

(Born February 3, 1996): India’s top sprinter is a trailblazer and known for her fearless approach to her sport and to life at large. The 100m champion in the World University Games in Napoli, Italy, on July 9, 2019. The Odisha-born athlete has a personal best of 11.17 seconds clocked in the Indian Grand Prix 4 in Patiala on June 21, 2021. It was just 0.02 seconds off the Olympic Games qualifying standard laid down by World Athletics. Born in a weaver’s family, Dutee Chand won silver medals in both sprint events in the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018. The pint-sized sprinter qualified for the 100m and 200m in the Tokyo Olympic Games on the basis of her World Ranking of 47 and 59 respectively. She is heading for her second successive Olympic Games.


(Born May 1, 1986): The senior-most race walker in the Indian team, Sandeep is a sharp competitor with a gritty attitude. He finished 36th in the 50km walk event (4:07:55) in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. He will recall that he moved up after a slow start from the 57th position to be among the 49 finishers. And now with the 50km event being discarded from the Olympic programme, he qualified for the 20km event for Tokyo2020 by breaking the National Record with a time of 1:20:16 in the National Race-Walking Championships in Ranchi on February 13, 2021. He had to endure a heartbreak the previous year when he missed the qualifying standard by a mere 34 seconds and trained in the paddy fields in his village during lockdown to retain his intensity. He is ranked 42nd on the World Athletics Men’s 20km Race Walking charts.


(Born July 5, 1996): Hailing from a modest family in Bahadurgarh in Haryana, Rahul qualified for Tokyo2020 with a time of 1:20:26 when finishing second behind Sandeep Kumar in the 20km event in the National Race-Walking Championships in Ranchi on February 13, 2021. Like everyone else affected by the pandemic, he had to endure a long wait after having missed the bus in the previous edition a year earlier, finishing 0.59 seconds more than the Entry Standard of 1:21:00. Having picked up the fundamentals of race-walking early, he nearly gave up the sport in 2016 until he was recruited by the Army in February 2017. As a youngster, he had been competing in 10km races but the switch to the 20km event has paid him rich dividends with a berth in the Olympic squad.

Kamalpreet Kaur

(Born March 4, 1996): The discus throw National Record-holder, hailing from Punjab’s Sri Muktsar Sahib district, has raised visions of making it to the Olympic Games final in Tokyo. There has been no looking back since she hurled the discus past the 60m mark for the first time at the Inter-Railway Championships in Lucknow on August 17, 2018. The following year, her graph showed some ups and downs, with the 60.25m in the Federation Cup on March 15 as her best for the year. Having missed competitions in 2020 owing to the pandemic, she returned to the circle with a 65.06m throw in the Federation Cup on March 19, 2021, to earn the National Record and a berth in the Olympic Games. Unlike in the earlier years, Kamalpreet followed that up with a 66.59m throw in the Indian Grand Prix 4 on June 21 to showcase a consistency.

Annu Rani

(Born August 29, 1992): She won a bronze medal each in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon and the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar but her determination to excel on the big stage was majorly sparked by her Asian Games 2018 experience. After a disappointing show, the Meerut-born Javelin Thrower bounced back by learning not to let the pressure of expectations affect her. She had two good competitions in Doha in 2019, in the Asian Athletics Championship (silver medal, 60.22m) and in the World Athletics Championships (eighth, 61.12m in final after 62.43 in the preliminaries) assured her a place in the starting line-up in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. After the pandemic-induced spell without competition, she raised her own National Mark to 63.24m in the Federation Cup Athletics Championships in Patiala on March 15. She is currently 11th in the World Athletics Ranking list for women’s Javelin Throw.

Avinash Sable

(Born September 13, 1994): Born in the drought-prone Beed district in Maharashtra, he took to athletics after serving the Army in Siachen and Rajasthan and has quickly risen as one of the most consistent performers. Within three years of taking to running professionally, he broke the 37-year-old 3000m Steeplechase National Record in National Open Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar on September 28, 2018. He rewrote the 3000m Steeplechase National Record twice in three days in the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha in October 2019, earning Olympic qualification by clocking 8:21.37 in the final where he finished 13th. He improved that time to 8:20.20 in the Federation Cup in Patiala on March 17, 2021. It was the fifth time that he was inscribing his name as the National Record holder. Avinash Sable is currently ranked 20th in World Athletics 3000m Steeplechase list.


(Born March 10, 1996): Just as her team-mate Bhawna Jat had done in 2020, Priyanka Goswami broke the National Record this year to secure a ticket to the Olympic Games. The athlete who hails from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh clocked 1:28:45 to win the 20km National Race-Walking Championships in Ranchi on February 13. She had missed meeting the Entry Standard in 2020 when she finished 36 seconds outside the 1:31:00 laid down by World Athletics. She has recovered from Covid-19 and will be looking forward to a good finish in Tokyo2020, drawing confidence from being 14th on the 20km race-walking Road to Olympic Games list. As a girl she first walked in a competition to be able to take home a bag that was given as a prize, but now the Olympic Games beckons.

Amoj Jacob

(Born May 2, 1998): From the time he won the 800m gold in the Asian Junior Championships in Ho Chi-Minh in June 2016, he has been an integral part of the longer relay squad. He gained experience by competing in the IAAF World Championships in London I 2017. The Delhi sprinter clocked a personal best time of 45.68 seconds in winning the Federation Cup in Patiala on March 16.

Bhavana Jat

(Born January 3, 1996): She has come a long from the time she started competing in a district meet, finishing second walking barefoot. Bhawna Jat rose from being among the outliers in women’s 20km race-walking to being among the top two in the country. The athlete from Kabra village in Rajsamand district in Rajasthan broke the National Record in the 2020 National Race-Walking Championships in Ranchi with a time of 1:29:54, six seconds inside the Tokyo2020 Entry Standard laid down by World Athletics. Bhawna Jat thus became the first Indian woman athlete to earn herself a ticket to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Ranked 27 in the Road to Olympic Games 20km Race-Walking list, she has waited for a bit more than a year to taste international competition, with the Asian Race-Walking Championships 2020 in Nomi, Japan, being cancelled due to the pandemic.

Muhammed Anas Yahiya

(Born September 17, 1994): He has been India’s most reliable quartermiler for some years now. Born in Nilamel in Kollam district in Kerala, he won the 400m gold in the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar and a silver in the Asian Games the next year. In fact, he was a part of the men’s and mixed relay teams that won silver and gold respectively in Jakarta. With the experience of the Rio Games under his belt, he rewrote the National Record with a time of 45.21 seconds in Kladno, Czech Republic, on July 13, 2019. He is highest ranked Indian 400m runner.

Noah Nirmal Tom

(Born November 13, 1994): Hailing from Kozhikode in Kerala, he is known for his blistering anchor leg in the mixed relay heats of the World Athletics Championships in September 2019 in Doha where he helped India rise from fifth to third place and secure a place in the final as well as in the Olympic Games. His posted his personal best of 45.75 seconds in the Czech Republic in August 2019. He breached the 46-second mark again in retaining his 400m crown in the National Open Champiosnhips in Ranchi on October 12, 2019.

Alex Antony

(Born September 3, 1994): A hamstring injury had kept him out of the frame for a while but this athlete from Pulluvila village in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram district returned to the National squad in 2019 when he took part in the mixed relay in the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama in May. Later that year, he clocked a personal best time of 46.17 seconds in the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Lucknow in August 2019.

Arokia Rajiv

(Born May 22, 1991): He has been an quietly efficient part of India’s 1600m relay teams for many years now. This long-serving athlete from Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu is a 400m bronze medallist in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheron and placed fourth in Jakarta in 2018. A former National Record holder (45.47 seconds), he came up with his personal best time of 45.37 seconds when finishing fourth in the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha in April 2019.

Sarthak Bhambri

(Born August 14, 1998): The Delhi lad won the Indian Grand Prix 3 in a personal best time of 47.11 seconds on March 5, 2021, to show himself as a serious contender for a berth in the relay team. He was picked for the World Athletics Relays Silesia21 but the team could not travel to Poland because of travel restrictions He also won the trials after the National Inter-State Athletics Championships to convince the selectors.

Naganathan Pandi

(Born April 23, 1996): Hailing from Singapuliyapatti in Ramanathapuram district in Tamil Nadu, he surfaced on the National scene only after doing well in the All-India Police Championships in Panchkula in March 2020. He clocked a personal best time of 46.09 seconds when he finished second in the Federation Cup on March 16, 2021,and gained the selectors’ nod after a stint in the National Camp.

Subha Venkatesan

(Born August 31, 1999): Encouraged by her policeman grandfather to take to sports, she rose to be a part of the Indian women’s relay team that competed in the World Athletics Championships in Doha in October 2019. A couple of months earlier, the Tiruchirapalli-born runner had clocked a personal best time of 53.67 seconds in Brno, Czech Republic. She was part of the squad that competed in the Asian Championship in Gifu and World U20 Championships in Tampere in 2018.

Dhanalakshmi Sekar

(Born June 5, 1998): The 100-200 sprinter from Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, who made waves with her defeat of Dutee Chand in the Federation Cup in Patiala in March this year, has been picked on the strength of her maiden 400m run in the trials on July 4. She took the third spot ahead of the experienced Jisna Mathew and VK Vismaya.

Revathi Veeramani

(Born November 2, 1997): She overcame the tragedy of losing both parents at an early age and made a mark as a 100-200 sprinter. The athlete from Sakkimangalam in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai district was encouraged to transition to the 400m after the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha in 2019. She ran a creditable 53.63 seconds in an Indian Grand Prix in Patiala in September that year. She won the trials on July 4 to earn a berth in the 1600m mixed relay team for Tokyo2020.

Gurpreet Singh

(Born July 9, 1984): He could not have asked for a better break than being able to return to his passion after a spell away from it because of migraine and after being deputed by the Indian Army to serve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He returned to race walking in 2019 after six years and did not manage a podium finish in the Services Championshps in 2019. But he did well to get back to the National Race Walking Championships the next two years. The Patiala athlete became the fifth Indian to break the 4-hour mark over the 50km distance when he clocked 3:59:42 in the National Race Walking Championshis in Ranchi on February 14, 2021, more than 10 minutes faster than the time that earned him second place a year earlier. With the 60th ranking on the Road to Olympic Games