After finishing the South Asian Games on a high, the Indian athletics team looks to continue with their impressive performances at the 7th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships to be held at the Aspire Academy Sports complex in Doha, from February 19-21.
The 17-member squad that will represent India consists of 9 men and 8 women and is led by the Asian long jump champion Mayookha Johny. Besides her, the other star athletes are the reigning shot put champion Omprakash Karhana, the National Open Athletics Championships winning sprinter Dutee Chand and the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games high jump record holder Tejaswin Shankar.
The Indian athletes will be participating in a total of 12 competitions at this event – six in men’s (800m, 3000m, high jump, long jump, triple jump and shot put) and six in women’s (60m, 60m hurdles, 1500m, high jump, long jump and shot put).
India looking to do better than last Asian Indoor Championship
India clinched one gold in the last edition of this tournament held in Hangzhou, China and this time they will surely be eager to fare better. But more vital is the fact that this event is a Rio Olympic qualifier and a few more athletes will look to achieve the qualifying criterion. So far, 18 Indians have qualified for the Olympic Games to be held in August.
The Athletics Federation of India President Adille J Sumariwalla said that the Asian Indoors Championship will not only give the Indians a chance to book Rio berths but it will also serve as a good exposure trip for future competitions.
“The 7th Asian Indoor Championship is an important competition for our team to qualify for the Rio Olympics and also get good competition exposure for their build-up for other future competitions.
I’m thankful to the Sports Authority of India and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for supporting the participation of our athletes and I’m confident that the team will utilise the opportunity to the hilt,” said Sumariwalla.
The Indian team just capped off a memorable campaign at the South Asian Games at home where they put up a dominating show and amassed 308 medals that included a whopping 188 gold medals. Triple jumper Renjith Maheswary, long jumper Ankit Sharma and Mayookha Johny showed immaculate form to smash the Games records at Guwahati and hopes will thus be high on them at the Asian Indoors.