Olympic-bound javelin thrower Shivpal Singh will watch from the stands the National Senior Federation Cup athletics meet starting on March 15 at Patiala as he is on the injured list. According to sources, the 25-year-old thrower from Uttar Pradesh has sprained his ankle. “Since he is an Olympic hopeful it’s better to take a short break now,” said a national level coach, justifying the break. Singh couldn’t be contacted as he didn’t respond to text messages and calls.
Recently, in the third leg of the Indian Grand Prix athletics in Patiala, Singh had finished second with a throw of 81.63m while 2018 Asian Games champion Neeraj Chopra came first with a national record of 88.07m.
In March last year, Singh, with a throw of 85.47m at the domestic athletics meet of South Africa, bettered the Tokyo Olympic qualification mark of 85m.
Chopra qualified for Olympics in January last year during a local meet in South Africa.
The performance graph of Singh, who achieved a personal best of 86.23m on his way to winning silver at the 2019 Doha Asian Championships, has been erratic. Despite training in the national camp for the past 18 months, he hasn’t come close to his personal best.
As per the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) website, only 17 athletes have entered the men’s javelin competition. Of the 17, five each are from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Besides Chopra, Sahil Silwal from Haryana and Rohit Yadav of Uttar Pradesh will be the ones to watch out for.
In the women’s group, only nine athletes have sent their entries, with Asian medallist Annu Rani being the biggest draw. Kumari Sharmila of Haryana is another leading thrower in the fray.