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Updated: June 20, 2012 18:39 IST

Hope for Olympics

V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM
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Sathi Geetha Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu Sathi Geetha Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

All eyes are on Sowjanya, Mrudula and Abdul Najeeb Qureshi hoping that they would qualify for the London Olmypics

It is Olympics time. But the athletics fraternity is not as happy as it was when the last two editions were held in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008). For then, Andhra Pradesh, or to be more precise, the city had two athletes, Sathi Geetha and J.J. Shobha.

When the four-day Greenco National Inter-state athletics meet is held at the magnificent Gachibowli Stadium from June 23 to 26, the focus from the local perspective will be on two gifted athletes - Sowjanya and Mrudula (in relays) in women section – and the sprinter Abdul Najeeb Qureshi (100 m and 200 m).

But even the die-hard athletics fans believe it to be extremely difficult for this trio to make it to the London Olympics next month because of the high standard of competition.

Given the fact that this Inter-state meet happens to be the final chance for the Indian athletes to book slots in the London Games, the fans, for sure, can expect a rich feast as each participant should be motivated to give off his or best. Effectively, all the planning will be put to test when the Balayogi Stadium comes alive when the cream of Indian athletics will be in action for four days.

“Honestly, we do hope to see a few more from the hundreds who take part in the Hyderabad meet to make it and join the 15 who had already qualified for London Olympics,” says Prof. K. Ranga Rao, secretary of AP Athletics Association, who is clearly struggling to make sure the event itself is a success irrespective of who makes it or not.

If the competitors want inspiration, they need not look far behind as the ‘golden oldies’ including Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, Sriram Singh and P.T. Usha will be there as special invitees.

This is the third time Hyderabad is hosting this prestigious championship after having conducted 1975 and 1979 (the third venue in the State was Guntur in 1989). Significantly, Balayogi Stadium which has been standing more as a symbol than witnessing any sporting activity will be host to what could be real excitement.

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