AFI gives in to the demands of selection committee for World Championships

first_imgThe insistence of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on having Priyanka Panwar in the women’s 4x400m squad for the World Athletics Championships, which begins in Beijing on Saturday, could cost India dear.Priyanka, who was handed a two-year suspension for an anti-doping violation in 2011, will not go to Beijing for the event after AFI’s efforts fell flat in a trial conducted at Patiala on Monday.The AFI announced a 17-member Indian squad for the Beijing championships on Tuesday. Five athletes – M.R. Poovamma, Tintu Luka, Debashree Mazumdar, Anu Raghvan and Jisna Mathew – have been named in the women’s 4x400m squad.Also read: 17-member Indian athletics squad for World Championships Normally, there are six athletes named in the relay squad but this time, India will have only five to choose from.The selection committee, headed by Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, had originally picked Anilda Thomas in the relay squad. Anilda, who is the second best runner this season and clocked 52.71sec in her win at the National Games in Thiruvanathapuram, however, missed the first trial.Priyanka also did not compete in the first trial but ran in the inter-Railway meet where her best timing was 58.09sec in the heats. But the AFI apparently wanted Priyanka in the squad and named her while sending entries to Beijing before the deadline. Apparently under pressure from the selection committee, AFI arranged a last-minute trial on Monday.  Priyanka clocked 56.4sec in the trials on Monday evening behind Anu Raghvan. None of the other four members, who have been selected in the squad, took part in Monday’s trials.advertisementThe AFI finally seemed to have accepted the logic of the selection committee that an athlete who had not proved herself in a National-level meet this season should not be picked and dropped Priyanka.Tintu, whose pet event is the 800m, is part of the relay team but it could become difficult for her to manage the two events on the same day if she qualifies for the 800m final. It is scheduled on the same day (Aug 29) when the women’s 4x400m relay qualification will be held.Meanwhile, Asian champions Inderjeet Singh (shot put) and discus thrower Vikas Gowda were among those named in the 17-member squad for the August 22 to 30 event.The squad, which comprises 10 women and seven male athletes, will be competing in nine events in the biennial event at the Bird’s Nest stadium.The SquadMen: Discus: Vikas Gowda; Shot Put: Inderjeet Singh; 20km walk: Gurmeet Singh, Baljinder Singh, Chandan Singh; 50km walk: Sandeep Kumar, Manish Singh RawatWomen: 3000m steeplechase: Lalita Babar; Marathon: Lalita Babar, O.P. Jaisha, Sudha Singh (marathon); 20km walk: Khusbir Kaur, Sapana; 800m: Tintu Luka; 4x400m relay: Tintu Luka, Anu Raghavan, M. Poovamma, Debashree Majumdar, Jisna Mathew.Coaches: Nikolai Snesarev, Andrei Filimonau, Pritam Singh, P.T. Usha, Ranbir Singh Sidhu, Alexander Artsybashev, Ramakrishnan Gandhilast_img read more