India’s star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will be returning to action at the National Open after a year as he had surgery for an elbow injury and missed this April's Asian Championships and the Worlds in Doha. Annu Rani, returning from the Worlds, will take part but Avinash Sable is doubtful.
The athletes returning from the World Championships in Doha had plans to head home, their tickets to their respective States had been booked too. But the top stars upon their arrival in New Delhi were under pressure to compete in the 59 National Open Athletics Championships which will begin in Ranchi on Thursday.
“Many were not happy about it but there was a threat that those who skip the Ranchi meet would not be included in the national camp,” a top coach revealed the helplessness of the athletes to Sportstar.
Now, a day after the entry list was published with many star names missing, there is a big change as almost all the top athletes will be in action at the National Open in Ranchi and their names are being included at the last moment.
“Yes, I'm coming and all the other 400m runners too. We did not go home, we will be coming to Ranchi straight from Delhi,” woman quarter-miler V.K. Vismaya told Sportstar on Tuesday evening.
Men's and women’s 4x400m relay members Muhammed Anas, Noah Nirmal Tom, M.P. Jabir, Jisna Mathew, and M.R. Poovamma will all be participating in Ranchi.
Asian Games shot put champion Tajinderpal Singh Toor, who registered a season’s best throw of 20.43m but could not qualify for the finals, Annu Rani, who broke the national record and became the first Indian woman to enter the women's javelin throw final at the recent Worlds, men's long jump national record holder 20-year-old M. Sreeshankar and Asian women's' 1500m champion P.U. Chitra will also light up the National Open.
And the big news is that Asian Games and Commonwealth Games champion, javelin thrower, Neeraj Chopra will be returning to the competition in Ranchi after almost a year. Chopra, who had surgery for an elbow injury, had missed this April's Asian Championships and the Worlds in Doha.
But Shivpal Singh, whose form suffered a strange dip at the Worlds where he could only manage a below-par 78.97m after a personal best 86.23m in April that saw him winning the Asian silver in Doha, will be missing due to ankle pain.
Meanwhile, Asian Games champion triple jumper Arpinder Singh said he would skip the National Open as he wanted a longer break before the next season to come back stronger.
“I've been travelling too much this season, I need a longer off-season. I was just 12 centimetres off the World championship qualification standard with my 16.83m at the Inter-State Nationals in August, so I want to take a long break and come back stronger next season,” said Arpinder from Bengaluru.
Steeple chaser Avinash Sable, who qualified for next year's Tokyo Olympics at the Worlds where he broke his national record and finished 13 in the finals at the Worlds, and Asian Games 1500m champion Jinson Johnson are both doubtful.
“I have not yet decided,” said Johnson on Tuesday evening.