Top continental athletes for Pune Grand Prix meet

Pune: Two hundred and fifty athletes from 22 countries, including Indians preparing for the October 3-14 Commonwealth Games, would be seen in action in the USD 25,000 Asian Grand Prix athletics meet to be held at Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on June 1.

The Pune meet is the first leg of the Asian Grand Prix and would be followed by next two legs scheduled at Bangalore (June 5) and Chennai (June 9), said organising secretary Prahlad Sawant at a press conference.

A day before the continental meet, more than 250 Indian athletes are to take part in the Indian Grand Prix at the same venue in Balewadi.

Top Uzbek sprinter Guzel Khubbieve, who won the 100m title in the 2006 Asian Games at Doha and won the silver medal in the 200m event, is one of the star attractions of the meet in which 99 men and 67 women have entered.

Thailand`s Wachara Sondee, who won the 100m bronze in the same Asiad, and India`s discus throw bronze winner at the same Games, Krishna Poonia, are also in the fray along with her compatriot Manjir Kaur, 400m silver medallist at Doha.

The women`s high jump contest should provide thrills with Zheng Xingjuan of China and Tatyana Effimemko of Kyrgystan in the fray. Both won silver medals in Doha with identical 1.91m clearance.

The corresponding men`s event is expected to be dominated by Doha silver medallist Sergey Zassimovich of Kazakhstan.