What India can hope for in athletics at Tokyo 2020

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Athletics has been part of the Olympics since it’s inaugural edition. A sport which is considered the mother of all sports. Disappointingly, India has got nothing much to cheer about at the Games apart from Milkha Singh and P. T Usha’s remarkable but heartbreaking fourth place finishes.

But now we have world class athletes like Neeraj Chopra and Hima Das. Here is a review of athletes who can qualify for Tokyo 2020 and make India proud. Qualifying standards for Tokyo 2020 are given below

Running events

In the last decade, 4*400 relay has been the event the Athletics Federation of India has invested a lot in. The Indian 4*400 relay mixed team has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. But for them to win a medal, Hima Das, Rajiv Arokia and Muhammed Anas will have to be fit and give their personal best.

The men’s and women’s 4*400 relay teams still need to cut down their timings to get the ticket for this year’s Olympics.

The emergence of Hima Das has put Indian hopes at a peak. Hima showed great consistency in the 2018 season and created history by becoming the first Indian runner to win at the IAAF U20 Championships. She also won Silver at Asian games after she gave her personal best 50.79 seconds.

But 2019 was a forgettable season for her. Struggling from injury throughout the season, she was nowhere near her personal best of 50.79. She won five gold medal in a month during July 2019. Her season best timing was 52.09 while Tokyo qualification mark is 51.35. She have enough time to qualify for Toyko 2020, she just need to recover from injury.

Dutee chand broke national record in 100m at the National Open Athletics Championship (11.22 seconds) in Ranchi last year. She improved by 0.04 seconds from her previous best (11.26) at Asian Championship in 2019. But Tokyo qualification timing is 11.15 seconds, which means she need to cut 0.07 seconds to achieve this.

In her absence, Anas and V. K Vismaya had a great 2019 season, both also helping India to make it to the finals of the 4*400 mixed relay at the World Championships. The team comprising of Anas, Vismaya, Jisna Mathew and Nirmal Noah finished 7th with a timing of 3.15.77. United States won the race with timing of 3.09.34. Despite such a huge gap, the mixed relay is the most favoured event for an Indian team having a fully fit Hima and Anas.

Throwing events

Neeraj Chopra, the poster boy of Indian athletics, suffered a career threatening throwing arm injury and had to undergo surgery in 2019. National record holder Neeraj, with a personal best of 88.06m, has been training in South Africa and it is hoped and expected that he will make a glorious comeback by crossing the 90m mark to the join the elite club of 90+ throwers like the Germans Thomas Rohler and Johannes Vetter. The other javelin throwers Shivpal Singh and Annu Rani can also produce some big throws on a particular day.

Jumping events

Indian fans can’t except anything big from jumping events at Tokyo. M Sreesankar (PB-8.20) is a promising young long jumper from Kerala. High jumper Tejaswin Shankar (PB-2.29) and triple jumper Arpinder Singh (PB-17.17) are some other big names from the jumping disciplines. However, they will need to improve their personal bests by a huge margin to even make it to the finals.

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