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Suspension of Olympics qualification period big blow for Indian athletes: coach

PTI
Published : Apr 8, 2020, 4:34 pm IST
Updated : Apr 8, 2020, 4:34 pm IST

Tejinder Pal Singh Toor (shot put), Anu Rani (javelin throw), M Sreeshankar (long jump), sprinters Dutee Chand, Hima Das are yet to qualify

File photo of Hima Das (C) finishing to win the women’s 400 metres race at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland. DC File Photo
 File photo of Hima Das (C) finishing to win the women’s 400 metres race at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland. DC File Photo

New Delhi: World Athletics' decision to suspend the Olympic qualification period till end of November has dealt a huge blow to Indian track-and-field competitors aiming for Tokyo, who were hoping to make the cut through domestic meets tentatively scheduled later this year.

The events are not yet confirmed given the worsening Covid19 pandemic, which has forced the country into a lockdown.

World Athletics on Tuesday suspended the qualification period for the Tokyo Games from April 6 to November 30, 2020, following consultation with its Athletes' Commission, continental association presidents and the Council.

During this period, results achieved at any competition will not be considered for Tokyo Games entry standards or world rankings, the publication of which will also be suspended.

India's Deputy chief national coach Radhakrishnan Nair the decision would disappoint many Indian athletes.

"World Athletics decision will be a big blow for the likes of Tejinder Pal Singh Toor (shot put), Anu Rani (javelin throw), M Sreeshankar (long jump) and sprinter Dutee Chand," Nair told PTI from NIS-Patiala.

Star sprinter Hima Das is also yet to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

Olympic medal hopeful Neeraj Chopra, his javelin throw team-mate Shivpal Singh, the mixed 4x400m relay team, K T Irfan (men's 20km race walk), Bhawna Jat (women's 20km race walk) and Avinash sable (3000m steeplechase) have already qualified for the Tokyo Games.

The world body has said those athletes who have already met the Olympic entry standard since the start of the qualification period in 2019 will remain qualified.

Asked what could have been the rationale behind the World Athletics' decision to freeze the qualification period till the end of November, Nair said, "I think many countries are not sure when they will be free of virus and can start training.

"Moreover, it is not fair to give athletes almost two years as qualifying period."

The qualifying period for most of the events, barring long distance races and race walk, began in May 2019 and was to end in June this year.

But after the Olympics was pushed to 2021 due to the pandemic, the qualification period will now resume from December 1, 2020 until June 29, 2021.

Nair said the Athletics Federation of India is hoping to hold the National Inter-State Championships and National Open in September and October but the performance of the athletes may not exactly be the best as they will not be counted for the Olympics qualification.

"We cannot do anything. We will be conducting the Nationals in September and October if the situation improves," said Nair, one of the most qualified coaches in the country.

World Athletics said the results in the intervening period of April 6 and November 30, 2020 will continue to be recorded for statistical purposes, including for world records, subject to the applicable conditions.

But they will not be used to establish an athlete's qualification status for the Olympics.

The total qualification period, which started in 2019, will be four months longer than it was to be originally before the postponement of the Olympics.

Tags: 2020 tokyo olympics, covid 19, hima das, dutee chand, world athletics, qualifying suspension
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi
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