After the ‘high' of the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games last year, the athletes would be getting down to the task of qualifying for the World championships and the Olympic Games as the season kicks off with the first leg of the Indian Grand Prix circuit at the NIS grounds here on Tuesday.
The qualification standards for World championships, in Kobe, Japan, in August-September, and the Olympic Games in London next year are really tough and it would be a surprise if someone achieves a norm early in the season.
Triple jumper Renjith Maheswary, walker Harminder Singh and the sprint relay team, among men, and Tintu Luka (800m); Preeja Sreedharan (5000m, 10,000m); A.C. Ashwini (400m hurdles); Krishna Poonia or Harwant Kaur (discus); Deepmala Devi (20km walk) and 4x400m relay team have already made the grade for the World championships through their performances last season.
Kavita Raut could also get into the above list either in the women's 5000m or the 10,000m if India is to enter just one athlete in either of these events unless of course Preeja and Kavita clock the ‘A' standards before August 15.
(An earlier report had included Pankaj Dimri (800m), Saurabh Vij (shot put) and Mandeep Kaur (women's 400m) among the qualifiers' list for the World championships but their marks, though above the notified standards, were achieved before the prescribed cut-off date of October 1, 2010).
The qualification period for the London Olympics stretches from May 1, 2011 to July 8, 2012.
Several of the top-ranked athletes would be missing from action on Tuesday. Tintu Luka, recovering from a hamstring strain she suffered in the Asian Games last November, has only done about one and a half months of training and would be keen to put in some more training before opening her season.
Shot putter Om Prakash Singh has been training in Hungary and has not made it. Ashwini has been nursing a wrist injury and is expected to miss this meet, while some of the regulars in the women's 400 metres are also doubtful.
Among the top women's 400m runners, only Sini Jose was there at the National Games in Ranchi. Discus thrower Krishna Poonia, nursing a knee injury in the post-Asian Games phase has not had sufficient build-up for a meet of this nature, while there is no clear indication as to the other two leading discus throwers, Harwant Kaur and Seema Antil would compete.
The GP events (with qualification marks for World championships and Olympics in parenthesis; all marks except for men's 100m, are the same for both championships): Men: 100m (WC, 10.25, OG 10.24); 400m (45.70), 800m (1:46.30); 110m hurdles (13.60); high jump (2.28); long jump (8.10), triple jump (16.85) and discus throw (63.00).
Women: 100m (11.38); 400m (52.30), 800m (2:01.30), 100m hurdles (13.15), high jump (1.92), triple jump (14.10), discus throw (59.50); and javelin throw (59.00).
Keywords: Indian Grand Prix circuit