The fourth leg of the Indian Grand Prix (IGP), to be held on Tuesday, May 24 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, will act as another opportunity for the elite Indian athletes to showcase their talent in the domestic competition.
However, the main focus during the one-day athletics meet will be on women’s long jump as 2021 World U20 silver medalist Shaili Singh returns to competition after a long lay-off due to a lower back injury. It will be Shaili’s first competition of the season.
Promising long jumper Ancy Sojan and experienced Nayana James are the other two prominent athletes in the fray for a podium finish. Ancy has been the leading jumper this season, having crossed 6.50m twice in March. The Birmingham Commonwealth Games qualification mark in women’s long jump is also 6.50m.
However, Ancy's performance dipped during the Khelo India University Games held recently in Bengaluru. The fourth leg of the IGP will provide the youngster a good chance to stay ahead of her rivals and cement her place for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Away from the jumping pit, the men and women’s 400m races will be the main attraction on the track. With the cream of the Indian quarter-mile training in Turkey at the moment, those practicing on home soil will look to make their presence felt on Tuesday in Bhubaneswar.
Meanwhile, the women’s discus throw will see Navjeet Kaur Dhillon and Seema Punia battle it out for supremacy. Both throwers are yet to cross the 60m mark this season so far.
India’s national record holder and Olympian Kamalpreet Kaur will be conspicuous by her absence from the Bhubaneswar competition as she was provisionally suspended last month for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
During the third leg of the IGP held in Bhubaneswar on Saturday, Kerala’s 26-year-old triple jumper Abdulla Aboobacker was the lone athlete to have qualified for the Eugene World Athletics Championships, scheduled to be held in Oregon, USA in July. Aboobacker’s gold-winning effort of 17.19m in men’s triple jump was better than the 17.14m qualifying standards of the World Athletics Championships.
The fourth leg of the IGP will act as a warm-up competition before next month’s National Inter-state Athletics Championships, scheduled to be held in Chennai.