Indian athletes upbeat about Youth Olympics qualification


New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) A 19-member Indian athletics team will leave for Bangkok Monday to compete in the Youth Olympics Qualifiers, Asia region, May 21-22.

The team, consisting of 14 boys and five girls and led by chief coach Wazir Singh, are hoping to qualify for the Youth Olympics to be held at Nanjing in August. In the previous 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics, the Indian athletes won two silver medals via 400 metres hurdler Durgesh Kumar Pal and discus thrower Arjun Kumar.

The current team is upbeat after their week-long camp and Wazir is confident that everyone will try to better their Personal Bests which can ensure an impressive haul of medals.

“All team members are confident about their chances. Our walkers, including K.T. Neena in the girls section who set a new national record at the National Youth Championship, and Naveen among the boys, appear quite strong in their respective fields,” said Wazir.

The coach added that there is a five-place quota for Asia in the boys’ 4X400 metres hurdles which should give ample chance for India’s Aftab Alam.

“Shot-putter Nishan Singh is capable of throwing between 18-19 metres which should also put him into the reckoning while Pradeep Kumar in hammer throw has done 67.63 metres, which should ensure his qualification.”

The team selection was based on the performance of the athletes in the National Youth Athletics Championships held at Goa in April. Hurdler Maymon Poulose from Kerala, who had eclipsed the national youth record, javelin thrower Pushpa Jakhar (Haryana), who improved the meet mark, besides metric miler Ajay Kumar Saroj (Assam), steeple-chaser Harbax Singh (Uttar Pradesh) made it to the team for the meet.

The squad:

Boys: Chandan Baurai (West Bengal, 400m), Arshdeep Singh (Punjab, 800m), Ajay Kumar Saroj (Assam, 1,500m), Kisan Tadvi (Maharashtra, 3,000m), Maymon Poulose (Kerala, 110m hurdles), Aftab Alam (Maharashtra, 400m hurdles), Harbax Singh (Uttar Pradesh, 2,000m steeple-chase), Naveen (Delhi, 10,000m race walk), Sahil Mahabali (Haryana, long jump), Sanal Scaria (Kerala, high jump), Nishan Singh (Punjab, shot put), S. Mithravarun (Tamil Nadu, discus throw), Pradeep Kumar (Rajasthan, hammer throw) and Neeraj Chopra (Haryana, javelin throw).

Girls: K.T. Neena (Kerala, 5,000m race walk), Rochelle Maria Macfarlane (Tamil Nadu, triple jump), Libia Shaji (Kerala, high jump), Priyanka (Haryana, discus throw) and Pushpa Jakhar (Haryana, javelin throw).

Chief coach: Wazir Singh.

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