Dhanalakshmi gets a ticket to Tokyo

Lucky break: The inclusion of S. Dhanalakshmi in the 4x400m mixed relay squad was a surprise decision.  

The absence of the seasoned M.R. Poovamma, who won the 400m gold in five of the six meets this year, and the inclusion of Tamil Nadu’s S. Dhanalakshmi in the 4x400m mixed relay squad were the big surprises in the 26-member Indian athletics Olympics team announced on Monday.

Poovamma, the 400m silver medallist with 53.54s at last week’s inter-State Nationals, was assured of a berth in the mixed 4x400m relay but surprisingly, the Karnataka athlete left the national camp and went back home.

“(Her) back is bad,” Adille Sumariwalla, the Athletics Federation of India president, told The Hindu.

Meanwhile Dhanalakshmi, the inter-State National and Federation Cup 100m champion who had been hoping to go to Tokyo through the women’s 4x100m relay, got a surprise ticket in the 4x400m mixed relay after finishing third in the 400m trials in Patiala on Sunday. Athletics events begin on July 31.


“We are happy that it is a well-prepared team, physically and emotionally, for the Olympic Games. The world has been through a lot and athletes have been challenged to stay in good shape, retain form and in good spirits,” said Sumariwalla.

“We are pleased that our athletes have remained in training ever since lockdown was lifted,” he added.

He said it was significant that as many as 12 individual athletes and the 4x400m mixed relay team had attained the entry standards, laid down by World Athletics, to secure automatic berths.

Dutee Chand (women’s 100m and 200m), M.P. Jabir (men’s 400m hurdles), Gurpreet Singh (men’s 50km race walk) and Annu Rani (women’s javelin) were assured of entries on the strength of their Road to Tokyo rankings.

The team: Men: Avinash Sable (3000m steeplechase); M.P. Jabir (400m hurdles): M. Sreeshankar (long jump); Tajinderpal Singh Toor (shot put); Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh (javelin throw); K.T. Irfan, Sandeep Kumar and Rahul Rohilla (20km walk), Gurpreet Singh (50km walk); Amoj Jacob, Arokia Rajiv, Muhammed Anas, Naganathan Pandi, Noah Nirmal Tom (4x400m Relay): Sarthak Bhambri, Alex Antony (4x400m mixed relay).

Women: Dutee Chand (100m and 200m); Kamalpreet Kaur and Seema Antil-Punia (discus throw), Annu Rani (javelin throw); Bhawna Jat and Priyanka Goswami (20km walk); Revathi Veeramani, Subha Venkatesan and S. Dhanlakshmi (4x400m mixed relay).

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 10:29:32 AM |

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