AFI asks IAAF for Olympics wild card for javelin prodigy Neeraj Chopra
The 18-year-old Haryana lad Chopra became the first ever Indian to hold a world record in athletics (junior or senior).
New Delhi: Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has written to the world governing body IAAF to consider new junior world record holder javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra for a wild card entry in next month's Rio Olympics, its president said on Sunday.
AFI president Adille Sumariwalla, who is also a member of the powerful IAAF Council, said he has written a letter to the world body chief Sebastian Coe in this regard within hours of Chopra winning a gold in the World Under-20 Championships with a junior world record of 86.48m at Bydgoszcz, Poland.
"Neeraj's performance is a junior world record but more than that he is now at eight spot in the IAAF overall list of season leaders, taking into account even the senior athletes all over the world. So, I have written to the IAAF president to consider Neeraj for a wild card entry for the Rio Olympics," Sumariwalla told PTI.
"Just after getting to know about Neeraj's performance I wrote a letter to Mr Coe and I am hoping for a favourable outcome," he added.
The deadline for Rio Olympics entry in athletics was July 11 but Sumariwalla said a wild card entry can still be sanctioned by the IAAF.
Asked if there were provisions of wild card entry under the IAAF rules, he said, "It (wild card entry) can be done."
The 18-year-old Haryana lad Chopra became the first ever Indian to hold a world record in athletics (junior or senior). He also broke the existing national senior record of 82.23m.
His achievement was all the more stunning as his effort was better than the gold medal winner in London Olympics (84.58m).
After producing a throw of 82.23m while winning gold in the South Asian Games in Guwahati in February, Chopra was gunning for the Rio Olympics qualifying mark of 83m in a few competitions, including in the Asian Under-20 Championships but failed to make the cut.