Abraham hopes to clear final Olympic hurdle on home stretch

The obsessive Cristiano Ronaldo fan has being following Protugal’s fortunes through the month and is hoping his hero’s form rubs on to him.

Written by Nihal Koshie | New Delhi | Published:June 23, 2012 12:32 am

The ongoing European Championship in Poland and Ukraine has put hurdler Joseph Abraham in a pleasant state of mind before the inter-state Athletics Meet at Hyderabad,where he gets a chance to qualify for the London Games. The obsessive Cristiano Ronaldo fan has being following Protugal’s fortunes through the month and is hoping his hero’s form rubs on to him.

“I am a big fan of the Portuguese star. Last year,when my son was born,I named him Cristiano. Initially,my wife objected but after a while she gave in,” he says. With July 7 — the last date for Olympic entries — fast approaching,the 400m hurdler will have to go below 49.80 seconds,the B Standard for Olympic qualifying. With time running out,Abraham will need Ronaldo’s temperament as he gets ready to run one of the most important races of his career.

But the qualification time is within striking distance for the 30-year-old,who holds the national record of 49.51. At the Federation Cup earlier this year,Abraham had clocked 49.98.

If Abraham fails to make the cut in Hyderabad,he will get another opportunity at the Asian All-Star Meet in Kazakhstan,where the men’s 400m hurdles is a listed event. However,after his plans of competing in Europe — first in December and then in June — weren’t cleared,Abraham will be short on competition heading into both the meets.

Another athlete who will have to knock off rust will be long-jumper Anju Bobby George,making her return to competition since the Beijing Games and after becoming a mother two years ago. Anju,who has been training for a year now,was to compete in B-level events in Europe in an attempt to achieve the B Qualification standard of 6.65m but is set to make a bid to book a ticket for London in Hyderabad.

Struggling to qualify

While the 10,000m duo of Preeja Sreedharan and Kavita Raut are based in Italy in their quest to qualify for the Games,Sinimol Paulose will hope to achieve qualification times in the 800 and 1,500m. Sinimol missed six months of training last year because of a back injury but has recorded her season’s best timing in both disciplines in May.

While Sinimol seems to be getting back to some sort of form,the top men’s sprinters will hope to improve on their timings that have rather drastically tumbled since the high of the Commonwealth Games.

The core of the 4×100 relay team — Shameer Mon,Mohd Abdul Najeeb Qureshi,Rahamatullah Mollah — will all be participating in the 100m heats on Saturday,while the women quarter-milers,part of the 4×400 metre squad currently struggling to qualify for London,will also feature in the 400m heats.

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