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Fed Cup athletics: With busy season ahead, a lot to look forward to

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Calicut, April 1 (IANS) With mega events like World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games scheduled this year, each athletics competition will be an opportunity for Indians to achieve qualification marks and prepare for the big events. Same will be the case with the 25th AFI National Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships which starts here on Saturday.

It is the first of the two important meets in the run up to the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games this year. And that is the reason why more than 500 athletes, including 158 women, will be vying for honours in the event to be held at the C. H. Muhammed Koya Stadium here till April 6.

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The National Open Throws Meet in Patiala, the National Open Jumps meet as well as two Indian Grands Prix in Thiruvananthapuram served as ideal preparation, but the Federation Cup will give the athletes and their coaches the opportunity to assess their form and work towards peaking in this year’s three international meets, including the World Championships.

The AFI has laid down qualifying standards for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham from July 28 and Asian Games in Hangzhou from September 10. And some of those who have not already attained them will be straining their every sinew to achieve these standards. This will make the Federation Cup an interesting meet to track.

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There are three gold medals on offer on the opening day on Saturday. Besides the 10,000m events for men and women in the morning, the women’s pole vault will be contested in the afternoon.

The men’s 25-lapper could see an intense contest. Kartik Kumar, Abhishek Pal, Dharmender, Murli Kumar Gavit and Narendra Pratap Singh will look to top the 26-runner field.

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Sanjivani Babur Jadhav, who posted a victory in the National Inter-state Championships in Warangal last year, will battle with Kavita Yadav for honours in the women’s race.

The women’s pole vault competition promises a keen contest, despite the absence of V Pavithra, who earlier this year became only the fourth Indian woman to clear 4.00m when winning the Inter-University Championships in Bhubaneshwar. Pooja, who fell short of that mark by 5cm, P Rosy Meena and Baranica Elangovan can draw attention to the Pole Vault pit.

Of course, there will be much interest in the men and women’s 100m, men’s 400m and men and women’s 1500m heats as well as men’s Long Jump qualifying round where M Sreesankhar and Muhammed Anees Yahiya can expected be joined by Jeswin Aldrin in leading the list of those making it to the final.



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Rubina Dilaik

Nikki Tamboli

Sidharth Shukla

Rashami Desai

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