The 2020 Summer Olympics was the biggest sporting casualty of Covid-19 that has wiped out sports events globally. With the Games scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8 this year, a host of Olympic qualifiers are about to commence.
Having been denied participation in competitive sports for months, Indian athletes are gearing up to make the Olympic-bound Indian contingent. Several athletic events, both domestic and international, are lined up in the months leading up to the world’s biggest sporting spectacle.
The upcoming Indian Grand Prix will be the first big opportunity for India's track and field exponents to fulfil their Olympic dreams. Several top athletes, including Dutee Chand and Hima Das, will be vying for a spot at the mega-quadrennial Games.
When will Indian Grand Prix be held?
The domestic athletic season will begin with the Indian Grand Prix-I on February 18. This will be followed by the Indian GP-II and Indian GP-III on February 25 and March 5, respectively.
All three events will serve as qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics. The tournaments will be held at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports in Patiala.
Athletes Participating In the Event
Javelin throwers Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh, steeplechaser Avinash Sable, race walkers KT Irfan and Bhawna Jat, and the 4x400m mixed relay team have so far bagged Olympic quotas for the country in track and field.
The 100m women’s national record holder Dutee Chand will be the star attraction at the Indian GP-I. Several leading athletes, including 2018 Asian Games gold medallist Manjeet Singh, 400m national record holder Muhammed Anas, long jump national record holder Murali Sreeshankar, and Asian Games bronze medallist Arokia Rajiv will skip the first Indian GP event.
All hopes will be pinned on World U-20 Championships gold medallist Hima Das to secure an Olympic quota. Hima’s current 400m national record of 50.79s falls within the entry requirement standard. If she can replicate such a performance this year, a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics will be guaranteed.
Men's 100m national record holder Amiya Kumar Mallick will also participate in the event to capitalize on the opportunity to secure an Olympic berth.
Indian Grand Prix Events
Men: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 5000m, 400m hurdles, long jump, triple jump & shot put
Women: 100m, 200, 400m, 800m, 5000m, long jump, shot put, & discus throw
Men: 100m, 200m, 400m, 1500m, long jump, shot put, & javelin throw
Women: 100m, 200m, 400m, 1500m, 400m hurdles, long jump, shot put, & javelin throw
Men: 200m, 400m, 800m, 5000m, 400m hurdles, 3000m steeplechase, long jump, triple jump, shot put, & javelin throw
Women: 100m, 400m, 800m, 5000m, 3000m steeplechase, long jump, shot put, & javelin throw