Kiran Pahal makes the cut as Indian track and field squad for Paris 2024 looks robust

Kiran Pahal (Image: AFI)

In what can be termed as path-breaking, the sheer number of Indian athletes – track and field – who have qualified for Paris 2024 is at an all-time high. Taking into account those who made the qualification cut plus those who secured places based on rankings released by World Athletics, the variety of events in which Indian athletes will compete in at the Summer Olympics is fascinating.

While it is a given, Neeraj Chopra will again be the star as defending champion from the Tokyo Olympics, he will have Kishore Kumar Jena for company in the javelin throw event. Neeraj had pulled out of the Diamond League Meet in Paris, scheduled for this Sunday. But that is more preventive, as he has been battling an adductor strain. It is nothing serious, though, in nature. He is doing all it takes to ensure he is in peak shape for the Olympics.

There is special cheer for Parul Choudhary, as she will be representing India in two events –the 3,000m steeplechase as well as the 5000m, event. Parul’s performances will be watched keenly as she has produced good results in the last one year, headlined by her performance last year in the World Championship as well as winning two medals at the Asian Games in Hangzhou – a gold and silver.

The surprise, so to say, is Kiran Pahal making the cut in the 400 metres for Paris 2024. As per the initial projection, the quarter-miler was not in the running for a Paris berth but she has made the cut, based on rankings.

To say that Jyothi Yarraji is a surprise would not be wrong, as Indians are not known to be featuring in the 100m hurdles at an Olympics.

The Athletics Federation of India selection meeting will be held in New Delhi on Wednesday to finalise the list for Paris 2024. It would be bizarre to assume anyone will not be considered after the final list was announced based on qualification and rankings.

News of DP Manu being sidelined broke out last week, after it became clear he has come under the dope scanner. The NADA (National Anti Doping Agency) has written to the AFI not to consider him.

What will also be interesting to see is if the AFI can swing a place for Jeswin Aldrin as Murali Sreeshankar got injured, in men’s long jump. For the record, Tejaswin Shankar did not make the cut in high jump and had expressed mild disappointment on a social media post. However, Tejaswin will look ahead at the next Olympic cycle, given his passion.

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List of Indian track and field athletes qualifying through automatic qualification and rankings:
• Kiran Pahal – women’s 400m
• Parul Chaudhary- women’s 3000m steeplechase and women’s 5000m
• Jyothi Yarraji – women’s 100m hurdles
• Abha Khatua- women’s shot put
• Annu Rani- women’s javelin throw
• Priyanka Goswami- women’s 20km race walk
• Women’s 4x400m relay team
• Avinash Sable- men’s 3000m steeplechase
• Sarvesh Kushare- men’s high jump
• M Sreeshankar*- men’s long jump
• Praveen Chithravel, Abdulla Aboobacker- men’s triple jump
• Tajinderpal Singh Toor- men’s shot put
• Neeraj Chopra, Kishore Jena- men’s javelin throw
• Akshdeep, Ram Baboo, Vikash Singh- men’s 20km race walk
• Men’s 4x400m relay team
• Marathon Race Walk Mixed Relay

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