The third edition of the National Open 400m Championships starting in New Delhi on Monday will give athletes on the fringes a chance to showcase their talent. The competition is being organised at the Jawaharlal Nehru eight-lane warmup track on Monday and Tuesday.
Since several leading quarter-milers, including men’s 400m national champion Amoj Jacob, are skipping the national competition, those on the fringes will look to make an impact.
Delhi’s 23-year-old Amoj Jacob has been the leading 400m runner in the men’s section this year. He clocked a personal and season-best of 45.68 seconds during a domestic meet in Patiala in March.
The national record of 45.24 seconds in men’s 400m is in the name of Muhammed Anas set in 2019 in the Czech Republic. This season, however, Muhammed Anas has mainly focused on the 4x400m relay events and didn’t contest the individual 400m race.
The 27-year-old raced a couple of short sprints (200m) to sharpen his sprinting skills for the 4x400m relay. At the Tokyo Olympics, Anas competed in mixed 4x400m and men’s 4x400m relays.
With both Jacob and Anas being absent from the National Open 400m Championships this time, the focus will be on promising talents. There are as many as 25 athletes who will be seen in action in the men’s 400m event. Will someone spring a surprise and clock sub-46 seconds in the men’s race at the National Open 400m Championships?
In the just-concluded inaugural edition of the National U23 Athletics Championships, Haryana’s Ayush Dabas clocked an impressive 46.58 seconds to win the 400m title. Dabas is expected to compete at the third National Open 400m Championships and could make a splash at the event.
On the women’s side, there are only four athletes in the race for a podium. Delhi’s Pooja whose season best is 54.78 seconds, is among the four athletes racing to corner glory during the national competition.
The competition will be conducted in senior, under-20, under-18 and under-16 age categories in both men and women’s sections.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has set 49 seconds as the minimum qualifying entry standard for men’s 400m race while it is 50 seconds for the under-20 boys’ group. For U-18 boys’ group, the entry standard is 53.50 secs.
The entry standard in the senior women’s section is 56 seconds while for U20 girls’ group and U18 girls' group, it is 59 seconds and 1:06.00 seconds respectively.
There is no entry standard for both the U-16 boys and girls sections.