Lucknow: The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) today announced the qualifying marks for selection of the Indian athletics team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, to be held in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3.
More than 700 athletes will be competing at the 54th National Inter-State Athletics Championship, starting here at the PAC Stadium from June 5 to 8, trying to make the qualifying grades for the CWG. The qualifying marks were decided by the AFI in consultation with the National Chief coach Bahadur Singh and Chairman of the Selection Committee, G S Randhawa.
The National Inter-State Championship will serve as the qualifying meet for the Glasgow Games. Meanwhile, those Indian athletes who are currently undergoing training in various centres abroad will be aiming to make the CWG qualifying grades at meets that are recognised by the IAAF.
The AFI announced the qualifying marks for a total of 42 events in athletics, including 21 each in the men`s and women`s categories where it feels that Indian athletes have potential to win medals in the CWG. Bahadur Singh is hopeful that the athletes will go all out to make the cut in the National Inter-State Championship for the CWG.
"Most of the national campers have arrived in advance for acclimatising to the weather here. I`m hoping that they will perform as per our planning and qualify for the Commonwealth Games," he said.
Sprint queen P T Usha, who has been training India`s medal hopeful in the 800 metres, Tintu Luka, arrived a couple of days in advance.Luka, the national record holder in the 800 metres event had missed the medal in the previous CWG despite a brilliant start in the race.
The 25-year-old Luka said, "The 2014 Commonwealth Games will be a big moment for me this time. I hope to do my best and qualify." Nikolai Snesarev of Belaur, the foreign expert for the endurance events, in which India bagged an impressive haul of medals in the 2010 Asian Games, arrived here last night with a 10-member national campers, including local girl and reigning champion in the Asian Games in 3,000m steeplechase, Sudha Singh.
The 28-year-old Sudha, who was recently elevated to the gold medal in the 2013 Asian Championship said, "We flew here from our camp in Ooty. All of us are looking forward to the meet here and we`ll put our best feet forward."