India may discover new athletic heroes in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. While athletics has never been India's forte, a new crop of sprinters have this year raised hopes of Olympic excellence with their performances over the past few months.
The recently-held Federation Cup witnessed the emergence of a new crop of fresh talent. Athletes like Dhanalakshmi, Gurindervir Singh, Kanimozhi have made great strides and are projected to be the best in their disciplines in the years to come.
Dhanalaksmi will look to boost her qualification chances at Tokyo Olympics
Tamil Nadu's Dhanalakshmi has shown promise with her exploits at the Federation Cup. She is in a prime position to emerge as one of the biggest names in Indian athletics. She made a big breakthrough after beating title-favorite Dutee Chand in the women's 100m to win gold.
The 23-year-old put up another solid showing by clocking 23.26 seconds in the women's 200m semifinal heats. She beat world junior champion Hima Das, who clocked 24.39 seconds.
With this achievement, she has moved closer to the Olympic qualification standard of 22.80 seconds. She also smashed PT Usha's women's 200m meet record that stood unbroken for 23 years.
All eyes on Gurindervir Singh as he targets Tokyo Olympics berth
Gurindervir Singh shot to fame when he clocked 10.32 seconds to bag the top honors in the 100m at the Federation Cup.
He produced a commanding surge of speed to power past his opponents. Elakkiyadasan Kannada and Satish Krishnakumar finished second and third, respectively.
Gurindervir had recorded his personal best of 10.30 seconds in the semi-final event. It was the third fastest time by an Indian sprinter.
However, his timing is still a considerable distance away from the qualifying mark of 10.05 seconds. The Punjab sprinter will be keen to put on his best show ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Kanimozhi could spring a surpise in 100m
Tamil Nadu is known to produce a talented breed of athletes every year and the Federation Cup was no different this year.
Tamil Nadu's Kanimozhi ethched her name on the domestic circuit after winning the 100m hurdles race at the Federation Cup. She clocked 13.63 seconds to win her maiden Federation Cup medal.
With 10.05 seconds as the Olympic qualification time, the Southern Railway employee has a big task ahead of her. Kanimozhi will hope to make amends at the IGP IV to be held on June 15 in Bengaluru.