More than 700 athletes gear up for CWG qualification

New Delhi: Aiming to grab a berth for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, more than 700 athletes will compete at the National Inter-State Athletics Championships, beginning at the PAC Stadium in Lucknow from Thursday.

The focus at the 54th edition of the National Inter-State Championships which is the qualifying meet for the 2014 CWG, will be on the throwers, sprinters and jumpers. In the previous edition of the Delhi CWG, the Indian athletics team had bagged an unprecedented haul of 12 medals, including two gold medals for the first time.

This time, National chief coach Bahadur Singh said, the National campers are focussed on performing to the best of their abilities.

"Our throwers have been doing well. Besides, there will be expectations from the sprinters and the jumpers, too. In the 800m, Tintu Luka is looking good while discus thrower Vikas Gowda has been performing really well in the IAAF Diamond League and other meets.

"We hope that the national campers will get stiff competition from the upcoming hopefuls in the National Inter-State Championships in Lucknow. It will serve our purpose of creating tough competition for berths in the Indian team," Singh said.

Meanwhile, the athletes have started arriving in Lucknow for acclimatisation and familiarising themselves with the track. Asian Games double gold medallist and 400m specialists Ashwini Akkunji was one of the early arrivals and she opted for a light workout in the evening today.

All those athletes who are at the moment training abroad in international camps in the US like CWG gold medallist in discus throw, Krishna Poonia, Seema Punia, and Gowda to name a few, are expected to attain the qualifying standards as set by the selection committee of the Athletics Federation of India at IAAF recognised meets abroad.

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