Acid test in Ostrava

first_imgSix athletes from India will be competing for Asia-Pacific at the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic (8-9 September). The line-up includes big names from the track and field event who won laurels for India at the Asian Games.Five athletes – three men (Jinson Johnson, Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Arpinder Singh) and two women (Sudha Singh and PU Chitra) – will join Javelin star Neeraj Chopra and the remaining Asian contingent in the European nation to battle it out against megastars from remaining continents.”It’s a matter of honour for India that our athletes have been shortlisted by AAA (Asian Athletics Association) to represent the entire continent. It simply means they are the best in Asia. AFI (Athletics Federation of India) won’t be bearing any cost as all expenses of the athletes are taken care by AAA,” said AFI’s deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Iyer.Earlier in May, AAA also shortlisted Hima Das for the quadrennial event. But looking at the hectic schedule that Hima went through this year, AFI decided not to send the teenage sprinter to the event.The medal hope is pinned solely on Neeraj Chopra, who crossed 88m mark for the first time in his career at the Asian Games. Neeraj has been in fine form this season and he has regularly managed 85-plus throws at all the events he has participated. Adding to that, the rising star has developed this knack of giving his best performance when it matters. Whether its 87.43m throw at Doha Diamond League in May or the gold-medal winning mark at the Asiad, the-20-year-old Haryana boy gets the best out of him when the bars are high.advertisement”It has been a great season for me. Everything has been positive so far. This is a big event like Doha Diamond League, and I am expecting tough competition for the medal since Europe’s best are going to be there,” Neeraj told Mail Today from Ostrava.It is indeed going to be an uphill task for the Asiad gold medallist as Germany’s Thomas Rohler, who managed a 91.78 throw at the Doha Diamond League and also managed another 90-plus throw in June. The European squad also includes home boy Jakub Vadlejch, whose personal best of the season has been 89.02m in June. However, since July the Czech’s performance has seen a downward spiral and has largely struggled to touch 85m mark.Expectations are also high from Asia’s best mid-distance runner Jinson Johnson, who won a gold (1500m) and silver (800m) in Jakarta. However, it’s going to be a tall ask for the Kerala runner, who will be competing in 800m against Africa’s Emmanuel Korir and America’s Clayton Murphy who have been neck-to-neck at Diamond Leagues.”Such events are always tricky because Kenyan runners (in this case Korir) with as they decide the pace of the race and make things difficult for us at the last stretch. I will be, nevertheless, giving my best effort,” Johnson told Mail Today.last_img

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