An eight-member Indian team will participate in the World athletics championships to be held in Daegu, Korea, from August 27 to September 4.

A total of 14 athletes, apart from the men's 4x100m relay team and the women's 4x400m relay team, had attained qualification standards for the World championships. But not all could be considered for selection.

With six of the women's 400m runners testing positive and currently under provisional suspensions, the women's relay team had to be perforce dropped. That was the case with A.C. Ashwini also. She had qualified for the 400m hurdles, but is in the batch facing doping charges.

With the leading male sprinters clocking anything between 10.55s and 11.10s this season, there was no chance of a men's sprint relay team being entered. Moreover, one of the members of the relay team that clocked 38.89s for the bronze in the Commonwealth Games last October, Suresh Sathya, is serving a doping suspension.

In contrast to its CWG feat, the Indian team finished eighth in the Asian championships in Kobe last month in 40.38s.

Preeja Sreedharan and Kavita Raut, both of whom had ‘B' standards for 5000 metres and 10,000 metres, meaning one of them could have been entered in either of these events, opted out because of poor form.

Preeja's bronze-winning 33:15.55 in the 10,000 metres in the recent Asian championships, ranks 124th in the world lists for the season while Kavita's best for the year in the 5000m (15:54.26 in Ranchi in February) occupies the 188th slot.

Preeja had 15:15.89 and 31:50.47 (19th in world lists for 2010) for the two distance events in the Guangzhou Asian Games while Kavita clocked 15:15.64 and 31:51.44 there.

Krishna Poonia, the Commonwealth Games discus gold medallist, who had a qualification standard (61.94) indicated in Kobe that she would not be interested in going since she was yet to exert herself following her knee injury.

The late qualifiers were Mayookha Johny and Om Prakash. Mayookha qualified as the Asian champion in long jump (6.56m) and did a 14.11m in triple jump to make the grade. Om Prakash had a 20.04 in a Hungarian meet last month.

Mayookha's 14.11 is 51st in the world lists while Om Prakash's Szombathely mark figures among the top 45 in the world currently.

Curious selection

The most curious selection is that of Renjith Maheswary. His best for the season is 16.09 in triple jump that ranks below 160 in the world at the moment.

He was not expected to be cleared since his recent form had been below par though he had a qualification norm (17.07m) achieved in the last Commonwealth Games.

But Renjith seems to have made it. Renjith had a 15.96 in the inter-State meet last June and has not competed since, though he was reported to be back in training at Patiala under the guidance of a foreign coach.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has kept the list of team members as “top secret” as though the publication of such a list would be calamitous for Indian athletics!

The team:

Men: Renjith Maheswary (triple jump), Om Prakash Singh (shot put), Vikas Gowda (discus); Gurmeet Singh and Babubhai Panucha (20km walk). Women: Tintu Luka (800m), Mayookha Johny (long jump and triple jump) and Harwant Kaur (discus).

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