Indian discus thrower Vikas Gowda has qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) lowered the entry standards for athletes in order to have more of them participate in the track and field events during the games.
The cut-off mark for Men’s discus throw as set by the IAAF in May for the 2016 Olympics was 66.00 metres. But the world federation lowered the mark to 65.00 metres, which was already crossed by the Indian athlete during the Jamaican Invitational Athletics Meet in May.
The 32-year old Gowda is the reigning Asian Champion and was the gold medalist in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. CK Valson, the Athletics Federation of India Secretary told that Gowda had indeed qualified for the Olympics.
"Since the Jamaican event was an IAAF-approved one and it was held after the qualification period starts, Gowda has now qualified for the Rio Olympics. He has crossed the 65.00m entry standard which was revised from the earlier 66.00m," Valson told PTI.
The qualification period had begun on May 1, and on November 26, the IAAF Council in its meeting had altered the entry standards in 17 events.
"The aim is to have more athletes achieving the standard and therefore, to get closer to the target number of participants," the IAAF said in a statement.
A review following the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, in August, recommended certain changes to the Rio Olympic Games entry standards, which were readily accepted by all parties.
Gowda, the national record holder, has a personal best of 66.28m. He hasn’t been in sublime form in the latter part of the season however. He finished 9th in the World Championships with a modest throw of 62.24m, after winning the Asian Championships Gold in Wuhan, China with a throw of 62.03m.