Indians Fail to Impress at Athletics Meet in Kazakhstan

Discus thrower Navjeet Kaur Dhillon failed to impress, though she won a gold, in the Qosanov Memorial Athletics Meet here on Saturday, putting a question mark over her Commonwealth Games selection.

Dhillon won the event with a best throw of 56.24m. She had won gold in the National Inter-State Championships (June 10-14) in Chennai with a best effort of 55.67m.

Dhillon was included in the 36-member Indian athletics team on June 16, with the rider of “subject to guidelines achieved in Kazakhstan” against her name. The CWG qualifying guidelines prepared by Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is 58.00m for women’s discus throw.

It is to be seen what the AFI will do in case of Dhillon, who had hurled the discus past the CWG qualifying standard with an effort of 58.03m while winning gold in the Indian Grand Prix in Bhubaneswar in May.

The AFI had included five more athletes — high jumper Tejaswin Shankar, marathoners Srinu Bugatha and Anish Thapa, heptathlete Swapna Barman and 4x100m runner MV Jilna — in the team, subject to Indian Olympic Association increasing the quota for FI to more than the currently allotted 36.

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Shot putter Manpreet Kaur, who has been named in the CWG team, disappointed by finishing third with a below par 14.24m effort in her fourth attempt. That was her lone legal throw. She had set a national record of 18.06m in the National Inter-State Championships in Chennai earlier this month. She returned to competition last year after serving a four-year ban for flunking dope tests.

Abha Khatua, who finished third in the National Inter-State Championships, won the event with a best throw of 16.71m.

Several Indian athletes, including star sprinter Hima Das, did not start their events. Hima could not travel to Kazakhstan due to visa issues. More than 20 Indian athletes are taking part in the two-day meet in their bid to achieve World Championships (July 15-24) and CWG qualification standards.

The deadline for World Championships qualification is Sunday.

On Sunday, the likes of shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor and hammer thrower Sarita Singh are scheduled to compete. Sarita has been included in the CWG team “subject to guidelines achieved in Kazakhstan.

Toor’s CWG participation will also depend on “subject to performance in Kazakhstan”.

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