India’s national record holder in men’s 400m, Muhammed Anas of Kerala, has been on the injury list since November 2021. Anas last competed at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games held in 2021.
He has been out of action and didn’t compete in the first two legs of the Indian Grand Prix series held in March. Anas also skipped the 25th National Federation Cup Athletics Championships that concluded Wednesday in Kerala.
Nonetheless, Anas is amongst the 31 elite athletes shortlisted by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for an international exposure tour of Antalya in Turkey to be held from April 10 to June 6.
Several elite athletes selected for the Turkish tour at the expense of the government are either on the injury list or haven't performed to their potential on the 2022 domestic circuit. Therefore, it will be a challenging task for AFI to prune the original list or include new faces who were medal winners in the just-concluded Federation Cup in Kozhikode.
According to a senior athletics coach, Ayush Dabas, the national U23 400m champion, is unfit as he is nursing a groin injury. As per the list, Dabas has been selected for the foreign exposure tour of Turkey.
"Dabas is attending the national camp in Kerala and is under a rehabilitation program," the coach familiar with the development, said. "Not sure why his name was shortlisted for Turkey tour."
India’s chief athletics coach Radhakrishnan Nair didn’t respond to either text messages or calls.
Anjali Devi, India’s fastest female 400m runner in the 2019 season, too, has been nursing a leg injury. Anjali has been attending the national camp in Kerala but skipped the Federation Cup as she wasn’t fit. She will also be traveling to Turkey to prepare for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
The AFI is also sending a group of 12 elite Indian middle and long-distance runners to Colorado Springs, USA, for advance training, starting April 15 at the government's expense. The camp will conclude on May 6.
India’s star middle distance runner Harmilan Bains, selected for Colorado Springs, is also on the injury list.
Ankesh Chaudhary of Himachal Pradesh, who finished fourth in the men’s 800m race at the Federation Cup, has been selected for Colorado Springs. Krishan Kumar, Mohammed Afsal and Anu Kumar finished in that order in the 800m race. The trio aren't included in the list for the foreign tour.
Elite athletes selected for Colorado Springs
Men: Ajay Kumar Saroj, Ankesh Chaudhary, Sashibushan (all 800m/1500m), Abhishek Pal (5000m/10,000m), Avinash Sable, Shankar Lal Swami (3000m steeplechase).
Women: Lili Das, Chand (800m/1500m), Kavita Yadav (5000m/10,000m), Harmilan Bains, KM Deeksha (800m/1500m) and Parul Chaudhary (3000m steeplechase).
Scott Simmons (foreign coach), Jaiveer Singh, Drasti Desai (physiotherapist).
Elite athletes selected for Turkey
Jisna Mathew, Dandi Jyothika Sri, Vithya R, Nancy (all 400m), Simi NS, Anjali PD, Daneshwari AK, Hima Das, Dhanalakshmi S, Dutee Chand (all 100m), Summy, Subha V, Rupal Chaudhary, Priya H Mohan, Vismaya VK, Poovamma MR, Anjali Devi (all 400m), Thomas Mathew (400m hurdlers), Rajesh Ramesh, Kapil (both 400m), Santosh Kumar, Jabir MP, Dharun Ayyasamy (all 400m hurdles), Muhammed Ajmal, Vikrant Panchal, Ayush Dabas, Naganathan Pandi, Noah Nirmal Tom, Amoj Jacob, Arokia Rajiv and Muhammed Anas (all 400m).
MK Rajmohan, PT Usha and foreign coach Galina Bukharina will accompany the national athletics team to Turkey.