Weeks after the Commonwealth Games snub, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) left out long jumper Jeswin Aldrin from the World Championships squad despite him achieving the qualification mark of 8.22m. AFI, which announced the list of 22 athletes for the event slated in Oregon, USA, in just two weeks, cited an “ankle twist” and a slump in recent form as reasons to leave out Jeswin.
National record holder long jumper Sreeshankar Murali, and Muhammed Anees will represent India in the long jump leaving the third slot empty. “Jeswin is not there. There is no oversight. He has met the qualifying standards. Have you seen his last three performances? 7.82, 7.69 and 7.51 so that is what it is. If the performance is consistently going down, the selection committee in its wisdom has thought that he shouldn’t be selected. He did 8.26 metres only once and after that, his performance is consistently going down.
There is absolutely no mistake there,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla told reporters after announcing the list on Thursday. When asked if the federation was aware of the reason for Jeswin’s graph going down, chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair said that JSW (Jeswin’s management company) had informed him of an ankle niggle. Sources close to the athlete however say that no such communication was made and that Jeswin is fully fit. Jeswin this season has managed a wind-aided jump of 8.37m and a legal leap of 8.26m ( second-best in the India season )
“Of course not (didn’t have a discussion with Jeswin). But I came to know from JSW that he had some ankle twist in the first competition (Grosseto) and what exactly happened he has not revealed to me. Whether he is injured or he is not fit or what is the reason he is going down (performance). We will ask for an explanation in writing,” coach Radhakrishnan said.
2018 Asian Games gold medallist shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor was named in the squad despite his recent performances being far from his best. Toor, recovering from an injury, has managed just one 20m plus throw this year (20.34 metres) so far. His last 21m plus throw came back in June 2021 at the Inter-State Meet in Patiala.
“You have to understand there is a difference between the two (Jeswin and Tajinder)… he went down to 19.12, then he came back at the Inter-state which was the final event, he has come up to 20.34. He (Toor) doesn’t have three performances coming down, he has a performance going up.
That is the difference between the two. At the inter-state Jeswin had his lowest performance, whereas at the inter-state Toor is up and close to his best performance. Every meet the performance (Jeswin) has gone down including the exposure he got at two international meets (Grosseto and Huelva),” Sumariwalla said.
The 22-member squad will feature stars like Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra and steeplechaser Avinash Sable. Rohit Yadav, who had four 80-metre plus throws at the inter-state meet last month will be the second javelin thrower at the World Championships.
400m runner Amoj Jacob has been included in the squad subject to injury recovery. If Amoj, who suffered a grade two hamstring tear in Chennai last month, fails to recover Arokiya Rajiv will take his spot in the relay team. 400m runner Aishwarya Mishra has also been named in the squad but she will have to undergo a fitness trial with photo-finish, in the presence of National Anti-Doping officials.
Indian squad: Avinash Sable (3000m Steeplechase), MP Jabir (400m Hurdles), M Sreeshankar and Muhammed Anees Yahiya (Long Jump), Abdulla Aboobacker, Praveen Chithravel and Eldhose Paul (Triple Jump), Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Shot Put), Neeraj Chopra and Rohit Yadav (Javelin Throw), Sandeep Kumar (20km Race Walking), Amoj Jacob*, Noah Nirmal Tom, Muhammed Ajmal, Naganathan Pandi, Rajesh Ram
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