New Delhi: Ace Indian discus thrower Vikas Gowda has qualified for the Rio Olympics after the world athletics governing body, the IAAF lowered the entry standards "to have more athletes" taking part in the track and field events in the 2016 Games.
Under the qualification standards issued in April, the cut off mark for the men's discus throw for Rio Games was 66.00 meters but a few days back the IAAF Council decided to lower it to 65.00 metres, which Gowda had crossed in the Jamaican Invitational Athletics Meet in May.
32-year-old Gowda, the reigning Asian champion and 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, had hurled the disc to a distance of 65.14 metres in Kingston while winning the IAAF-approved event on May 9.
Athletics Federation of India Secretary C K Valson confirmed that Gowda has qualified for the Rio Olympics.
"Since the Jamaican event was an IAAF-approved one and it was held after the qualification period starts, Gowda has now qualified for the Rio Olympics. He has crossed the 65.00m entry standard which was revised from the earlier 66.00m," Valson told PTI.
The qualification period of track and field events for Rio Olympics began on May 1.
The IAAF Council in its meeting on November 26 had made the changes to the Rio Olympics entry standards in 17 events.
The International Olympic Committee have since been notified.
"The aim is to have more athletes achieving the standard and therefore, to get closer to the target number of participants," the IAAF said in a statement.
The changes were made after a review following the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August. Resulting from the experience of these championships, the Technical Delegates proposed some amendments to the Rio Olympic Games entry standards, which have been accepted by all parties.
Gowda, who has a personal best and national record of 66.28m, has not been in the best of his form in the later part of the season. He won the Asian Championships gold in Wuhan (China) in June with a modest throw of 62.03m before finishing ninth in Beijing World Championships in August with a best throw of 62.24m.