The selection committee of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) didn’t pick three gold medal winners from the Asian Athletics Championships — men’s 800 metre winner Ajay Kumar Saroj, 1,500 champion PU Chitra, and 3,000 metre steeple chase winner Sudha Singh — for the World Championships which begin in London from August 4. Both Saroj and Chitra had qualified for the London event by virtue of winning the gold at the continential championships.
However, like some of the others, who have made the cut by virtue of winning gold, they too had not met qualifying norms. While Chitra had achieved her personal best, like Saroj, she was way off the qualifying standard. The AFI had taken a decision to field athletes who were in form rather than sending everyone who had either met the qualifying standards or won gold at the Asian Championships.
The 28-member team announced on Sunday comprises 14 men who will participate in eight different events and 10 women who will compete in six events. A 13-member strong support staff will also travel for the World Championships.
India’s brightest prospect at the World Championship will be men’s javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who had finished fifth and seventh at the two Diamond Leagues he had participated in the run-up to London. Chopra also won the gold at the Asian Championships in Bhubaneshwar. Manpreet Kaur, the women’s shot putter who tested positive for a steroid and a stimulant at two different events has been dropped from the squad.
team: Men: 20km walk- Irfan Kolothum Thodi, Devender Singh and Ganapathi Krishnan; 400m & 4x400m relay- Muhammed Anas Yahiya; 5000m & 10000m- Lakshmanan Govindnan; 110m hurdles- Siddhanth Thingalaya; Marathon- Gopi Thonakal; Javelin Throw: Neeraj Chopra and Davinder Singh Kang; 4x400m Relay- Arokia Rajiv, Amoj Jacob, Kunhu Mohammed, Mohan Kumar Raja, Sachin Roby; Women: 20 km walk- Khushbir Kaur; 400m & 4x400m relay- Nirmala; Heptathlon- Swapna Barman; Marathon- Monika Motiram Athare; Javelin Throw- Annu Rani; 4x400m relay- Poovamma Raju Machettira, Jisna Mathew, Anilda Thomas, Jauna Murmu, Anu Raghavan.