Asian Games 2018
22-Aug-2018 13:13

Asian Games 2018, Indian player profiles: Athletics women’s field events

The women’s field contingent at the Asian Games will have five athletes across three disciplines. Three of these athletes were subject to last-minute confirmatory trails by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).

Among those indisputably heading to Indonesia will be Seema Punia, who will be looking for her second Asiad gold, having been exempt from the trials. Annu Rani was dropped from the squad at the last moment, having failed to convince in her trial.

Seema Punia

Date of Birth: July 27, 1983

Event at Asian Games: Discus Throw

Past performance (if any): Gold (Incheon, 2014)

Best performance so far: Silver at Commonwealth Games (2006, 2014, 2018)

Brief Description: Seema Punia is the only surviving individual gold medallist in the entire Indian contingent from Incheon to head to Jakarta and Palembang. The 35-year-old thrower won silver at Commonwealth Games, behind Australia’s Dani Stevens and pipped compatriot Navjeet Kaur Dhillon. This was Punia’s fourth medal at the Commonwealth Games, placing her in elite company. Starting off as a hurdler, it was her brother who convinced Seema to switch to the discus throw. Training under coach and husband Ankush, who represented India at the 2004 Olympics, Seema finished sixth at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar in 2017, a year riddled with injuries. Yang Chen, who finished with gold in Bhubaneswar, will lead the Chinese challenge in the discus throw at the Asiad.

Sandeep Kumari
Date of Birth: December 10, 1992

Event at Asian Games: Discus Throw

Past performance (if any): N/A

Best performance so far: Gold at Inter-State Championships (2018)

Brief Description: Sandeep Kumari, India’s second pick for the women’s discus throw at the Asian Games almost did not go to the multi-disciplinary event in Jakarta and Palembang because the Athletics Federation of India did not enter her name in the long-list to the Organising Committee. Despite the gaffe, Kumari’s name seems to have been included in a list available on the IOA’s website and also on the official games website. Kumari set a new personal best at the Inter-State Championships in Guwahati, setting a mark of 58.41 metres, finishing with gold. The 25-year-old thrower had her breakout at the Indian junior championships in Ranchi, where she struck gold.

Sarita Singh
Date of Birth: October 26, 1989

Event at Asian Games: Hammer Throw

Past performance (if any): N/A

Best performance so far: Gold at Federation Cup (2018)

Brief Description: India’s sole participant in the women’s hammer throw set a new national record at the Federation Cup in 2017 not once but twice at the same meet, with a final mark of 65.25 metres. Sarita, an employee of the Indian Railways, started her athletic career as a long jumper but transitioned to the hammer throw. A student of the Sikh Inter College in Narangpur, she started the hammer throw while in college. Married to Romit Singh, a national race-walker, Sarita failed to touch the marks of 2018, yet managed 63.28 metres at the Inter-State Championships in Guwahati to seal her place in Indonesia.

Nayana James
Date of Birth: October 18, 1995

Event at Asian Games: Long Jump

Past performance (if any): N/A

Best performance so far: Bronze at Asian Athletics Championships (2017), Gold at Federation Cup (2018)

Brief Description: Nayana James has been tagged the next Anju Bobby George and coming from the same state, the comparisons are flattering. Nayana, who broke out as a teenager, stalled, unable to clear six metres, even forcing her to drop the sport for a couple of years, in exchange for a degree and a job. A change in coach worked wonders as she shocked the defending champion Neena Varakil at the 2017 Federation Cup, following that up with a win the following year. At the Asian Athletics Championships, James earned a bronze but her 2018 Commonwealth Games performance was disappointing, managing 6.14 metres. Her second major meet at the Asian Games awaits but to really be worthy of the Anju comparisons, she will have to produce the goods in Indonesia.

Neena Varakil
Date of Birth: May 2, 1991

Event at Asian Games: Long Jump

Past performance (if any): N/A

Best performance so far: Silver at Asian Athletics Championships (2017), Gold at Asian Grand Prix (2017)

Brief Description: The 27-year-old long jumper from Kerala has failed to match the 6.66 metres that she jumped in Bengaluru at the Indian Grand Prix. The occasional high points have come, with a victory at the Asian Grand Prix most notable. At the Asian Athletics Championships, she upstaged the more-fancied Nayana in winning a silver with a jump of 6.54 metres. At Gold Coast, Neena came up a cropper, qualifying for the finals but only managing only a 6.19 metre-jump, finishing 10th, just ahead of Nayana. She bounced back to take silver at the Inter-State Championships in Guwahati and qualify for the Asian Games.

News Credithttps://scroll.in