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National Open Athletics begins tomorrow

PTI
NEWS
41   //    24 Sep 2017, 18:46 IST

Chennai, Sep 24 (PTI) The country's top track and field athletes will be seen in action in the four-day 57th National Open Athletics Championships 2017, beginning at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here tomorrow.

Around 1200 athletes from various states and departments/public sector undertakings would be taking part in the meet, Tamil Nadu Athletics Association (TNAA) officials said.

The focus would be on Govindan Lakshmanan, who recently won a gold in Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, after capturing two gold in the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubneswar and on javelin thrower Davinder Singh Kang, who qualified for the final round at the World Championships in London recently.

Lakshmanan has been in good form in recent months and his golden run has extended to the meet in Ashgabat. He would be participating in the Championships despite having returned to the country a couple of days ago.

The Pudukottai athlete, who will represent Services, has said he would like to do well in the Championships and then focus was on next year's Commonwealth and the Asian Games.

Given the form he has been in, Lakshmanan would be heavily favoured to win the gold in both the events he has entered -- 5,000m and 10,000m run.

Meanwhile, Kang who has reportedly been mulling a shift to Italy on the issue of his non-inclusion in the list of Target Olympic Podium Scheme beneficiaries, would be one of the star attractions at the Championships, which would see the cream of Indian athletics taking part.

Like Lakshmanan, Kang could be the favourite to win the event, given his credentials, and if Neeraj Chopra does not take part.

Most of the athletes, who participated in the World Championship in London, including Mohammed Anas of Services (400m), Kang and Ganapathi Krishnan (20km race walk), M R Poovamma (400m), javelin thrower Annu Rani and heptathlete Swapna Barman would be seen in action at the meet.

Olympian Poovamma, who missed out on a medal in the 400m event in the Asian meet in Bhubaneswar, would be out to prove her mettle in the Nationals.

In the women's section, national record holder in pole vault, V S Surekha of Railways would seen in action.

Meanwhile, Kerala's 1500m runner P U Chitra, whose omission from the London World Championships had led to a furore and a court case, will also miss the Nationals.

Chitra, who had won a gold in the Asian Indoor Games recently, is reportedly taking a break after being on the road for some time now.

Apart from representing state teams, numerous athletes would be participating on behalf of their institutions. Among the institutions to be represented include All India Police Sports Board, ONGC, LIC, apart from the Railways and Services.

Athletes from Railways and Services are expected to dominate proceedings as would those representing Athletics Federation of India (AFI).

The host state -- Tamil Nadu -- would be represented by 41 men and 35 women athletes. They would be eager to win a clutch of medals in front of the home crowd.

Officials were overseeing final preparations before tomorrow's inauguration

PTI
NEWS
Press Trust of India (PTI) is a news agency in India
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