Indian athletics still has long way to go

first_imgThe track and field competitions get underway on Friday and this is one of the largest ever Indian contingents that we have seen in athletics at the Olympics.Expecting a medal in track and field would be asking too much as the leading athletes from other nations are far ahead of us in terms of training and level of competition. Indian athletics still has a long way to go before we can actually compete and challenge the top international stars.On Friday, we will have four Indian athletes competing at the Olympics and all the efforts they have put in over the last couple of years will finally be tested.Om Prakash Karhana (shot put), Krishna Poonia and Seema Antil (discus throw) and Mayookha Johny (triple jump) will be seen in action; the discus throwers have the best possible chance of making it to the finals.Amongst the four, Mayookha’s chances are pretty remote as not much has been heard about how she has fared in recent competitions as her focus was more on attaining the qualifying mark in the long jump event.Om Prakash will have to match his personal best to make the cut for the final. He hasn’t participated in enough competitions in his build-up towards the Olympics; moreover, the events in which he competed lacked top level athletes. However, Om Prakash has tremendous potential and we hope for the best.Krishna and Seema should qualify for the finals if they manage to cross the 61m mark, which they have achieved on numerous occasions.advertisementJust like every other sport, technique is quite crucial in athletics as well. That is exactly why I feel the discus throwers are more prepared. Their best efforts have come this year and what goes in favour of Seema is that she seems to have peaked just at the right time.Krishna had her personal best throw of 64.76m in May this year and although she looks prepared, I feel she might have peaked a couple of weeks early.Both Krishna and her husband Virendar Poonia, who is also her coach, are targetting the 65m mark and if they manage that, India could be celebrating its first Olympic medal in athletics.After the bronze medal from Gagan Narang, nothing much has gone India’s way, although Saina Nehwal is on track to win a medal. Indian athletes have been training for long to prepare themselves in the best possible manner for the ultimate challenge.But making tall claims wouldn’t help our athletes and it would be better for them to focus on making the finals, and then put everything on the line.(The writer is an Asian Games gold medallist and finalist at 1964 Tokyo Olympics)last_img

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