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Neeraj Chopra, Tejaswin Shankar to Lead Strong Field in Fed Cup

Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and talented high jumper Tejaswin Shankar will be among a host of top Indian athletes to feature in the 22nd Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships which begins here on Monday

PTI

Updated:March 5, 2018, 8:21 AM IST
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Neeraj Chopra, Tejaswin Shankar to Lead Strong Field in Fed Cup
A file photo of Indian athlete Neeraj Chopra. (Getty Images)

Patiala: Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and talented high jumper Tejaswin Shankar will be among a host of top Indian athletes to feature in the 22nd Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships which begins here on Monday.

More than 700 athletes from across the country will vie for honours and for a spot in next month's Commonwealth Games as this meet will serve as the selection trial for the multi-sporting event in Gold Coast, Australia.

India has been permitted to send a 37-member athletics squad for the quadrennial event of which only the names of four Indian race walkers have been announced. The Federation Cup will serve as the final chance to qualify for the April 4-15 CWG for a majority of athletes of the country.

The performance of the athletes who have already met the Athletics Federation of India's (AFI) qualifying guidelines will be taken into consideration before the final squad is announced. But it's mandatory for them to take part in this event, the first of the three national championships.

The 20-year-old Chopra has cemented his claim as the country's premier javelin thrower. He is coming off a gold medal at the Indian Grand Prix here last month with an impressive 82.88m throw. This was the season's second competition where Chopra has crossed 80m. Recently, he claimed a silver with a throw of 82.80m at an international throws event in Offenburg, Germany.

The 19-year-old Tejaswin recently scaled new heights in the men's high jump by clearing 2.28m -- a national record -- at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Iowa, United States. Tejaswin, who is on an athletics scholarship at Kansas State University, had already shattered the indoor national record with a jump of 2.19m earlier this year.

Nayana James, a silver medallist at the Asian Indoor Championships in January, is also in fine form having managed a jump of 6.47m in women's long jump at the Indian Grand Prix. In the women's discus throw, Seema Punia, who is competing in her first competition of the season, did not have a great 2017 with a best throw of 54.14m. However, with her sights set on qualifying for the Commonwealth Games, she would be itching to get close to her personal best of 64.84m.

In the men's shot put event, Tajinder Pal Toor would be looking to improve his mark of the Indian Grand Prix. Toor, who won a silver at the Asian Indoor Championships, had heaved the iron sphere to a distance of 19.95m, some 25cm shy of the qualification standard of 20.20m. However, with a personal best of 20.40m set in Patiala, Toor will be confident of making a strong bid for the qualification mark.

The championships will kick-off with the women's long jump qualifying event in the morning while the men's pole vault will be the first final of the competition in the evening session.

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| Edited by: Madhav Agarwal
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