17-member Indian athletics squad for Worlds

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) Asian champions Inderjeet Singh and Vikas Gowda were among the most notable names in the 17-member squad announced by the Athletics Federation of India on Tuesday for the IAAF World Championships to be held in Beijing from August 22 to 30.

The squad, which comprises 10 women and seven male athletes, will be competing in nine events in the biennial event at the Bird’s Nest stadium.

Upcoming shot put star Inderjeet is enjoying some red hot form at the moment, having won gold medals at every event he has taken part in this year. The towering left-hander has won a staggering eight gold medals so far in 2015 and has already qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

He emerged champion at the Asian Championships and Asian Grand Prix in June before finishing at the top of the podium at the World University Games last month.

Gowda, who took silver at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, last year, is also one of India’s best bets for a medal in Beijing. But he needs to do much better than his season’s best of 65.14 metres in order to finish on the podium.

On the track, the Indian camp will be hoping for a strong performance from the talented Tintu Luka in the women’s 800 metres.

The 26-year-old from Kerala will also be part of the women’s 4×400 metres relay quartet along with Anu Raghavan, M. Poovamma, Debashree Majumdar and Jisna Mathew.

Indian fans can also hope for a competitive performance in the women’s middle and long distance events from O.P. Jaisha, Sudha Singh (both marathon) and Lalita Babar (3000 metres steeplechase and marathon).

The trio are currently undergoing high-altitude training in Ooty under Belarussian coach Nilolai Snesarev.

However, Rajinder Singh, who had achieved the qualification mark in men’s javlin throw, will not be able to make it to Beijing as he picked up an injury at the Asian Grand Prix Series in Thailand in June.

The javelin thrower is currently undergoing medical tests for his recovery programme.

The Squad:

Men: Discus: Vikas Gowda; Shot Put: Inderjeet Singh; 20km walk: Gurmeet Singh, Baljinder Singh, Chandan Singh; 50km walk: Sandeep Kumar, Manish Singh Rawat

Women: 3000m steeplechase: Lalita Babar; Marathon: Lalita Babar, O.P. Jaisha, Sudha Singh (marathon); 20km walk: Khusbir Kaur, Sapana; 800m: Tintu Luka; 4x400m relay: Tintu Luka, Anu Raghavan, M. Poovamma, Debashree Majumdar, Jisna Mathew.

Coaches: Nikolai Snesarev, Andrei Filimonau, Pritam Singh, P.T. Usha, Ranbir Singh Sidhu, Alexander Artsybashev, Ramakrishnan Gandhi

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