After a couple of Indian Grand Prix,events with limited disciplines,earlier in the year,the athletics calendar kicks off in the real sense with the Federation Cup National Senior Athletics Championships here on Tuesday.
The four-day meet will serve as a selection trial before for the three legs of the Asian Grand Prix to be held in Bangkok,Chonburi and Colombo in early May. For the established stars,the Federation Cup will be an opportunity to assess in wake of the July 3-7 Asian Athletics Championships.
Commonwealth and Asian Games medallist in the womens discus throw Krishna Poonia had a lengthy practice session on Monday. Poonia is set to participate in the first two legs of the Asian Grand Prix before entering the Doha Diamond League next month. I have been training for the past two-and-a-half months and the Federation Cup will be my first event after the Olympics, Poonia said.
Following the Federation Cup and the three-leg Asian GP,Indian athletes will shift their focus to the National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships a selection trial for the Asian Athletics Championships.
We will be closely monitoring the form and fitness of our athletes before they are allowed to participate in international meets. The performance at the Federation Cup will be taken into consideration before athletes names are forwarded for the Asian Grand Prix, Athletics Federation of India competition and camp director ML Dogra said.
The AFI has decided to scrutinise the performance of Indian athletes even more closely after some of them performed below-par at the London Games. Renjith Maheswary,the triple-jumper,didnt register a legal jump in London and the focus will be on him during the meet. Incidentally it was at the last edition of the event that Maheswary attained the B-Qualifying mark for the Olympics.
However,for the younger stars the cup will provide an opportunity to impress ahead of the Asian championships.
Siddhanth Thingalaya,the 22-year-old hurdler who holds the national record,is scheduled to participate in the 110m. Thingalaya has twice lowered the national record,the last occasion being in the 2012 edition of the cup,but missed out on qualifying for the Olympics due to an injury.