Anjali Devi confirms world athletics berth

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Clocking 52.30 seconds in AFI’s confirmatory trials under testing conditions at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium on Saturday, quarter-miler Anjali Devi ran fast enough to prove her credentials to the federation and confirmed a spot in the 400m individual event of World Athletics Championships slated from September 28 in Doha.

The 21-year-old runner earlier clocked scintillating 51.53 secs last month at the National Inter-State Championships in Lucknow to qualify for the Worlds. However, being away from the national camp for four months while failing to update on her whereabouts during the period coupled with strings of sub-standard performances in competitions before that meant she was asked to appear for this trial to prove her consistency.

I am happy that this performance was enough to confirm my participation at the World Championships. I feel I could have done better if it didn’t rain today as I was clocking good during practice in the camp (Patiala), Anjali told Mail Today.

She, however, won’t be considered for the relay teams as AFI remains strict on their rule to not consider non-campers.

Among other runners, relay squad member Jisna Mathew clocked her season best of 53.05 secs. Her other teammate V Revathi, managed a disappointing 57.59 seconds and seems out of contention to find a starting spot in the Worlds.

An AFI official revealed that Revathi was not well on the day as she was throwing up before the event. The official confirmed that her performance won’t affect her chances of going to Doha.

In the men’s trials, relay members Alex Antony and Harsh Kumar clocked satisfactory 46.58 and 46.76 respectively. All the athletes were tested by NADA officials at the stadium.

The performances must have come as a relief for quarter-miler coach Galina Bukharina after disappointing performances by other runners in the Pardubice, Czech Republic in a meet on Thursday. Jisna’s Saturday’s performance should confirm her starting spot in the women’s and mixed relay team as she clocked faster than MR Poovamma, who ran pale 54.00 secs; fastest among girls in Pardubice that included V Subha (54.7) and R Vithya (55.1).

Alex’s, who came back from an injury, and Harsh’s timings also reduces headache for the men’s relay team as they got five runners now who are consistently clocking sub-47 this season; Muhammed Anas (45.21), Nirmal Noah Tom (45.75), Amoj Jacob (46.43) being the others.

One of the coaches also pointed out that runners who weren’t part of the national camp in Czech are clocking faster.

I think runners who were not part of the camp in Czech Republic are running faster than the one there. I don’t understand what’s the point in sending them out to train in Europe for so long, said the coach.

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