New Delhi: Reigning Asian champion discus thrower Vikas Gowda has suffered a shoulder injury and his participation in the upcoming Rio Olympics is subject to fitness, the Athletics Federation of India said on Tuesday.
AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said that Gowda's father had informed the federation that the ace discus thrower, who will be taking part in his fourth Olympics in Rio, has suffered a "minor" shoulder injury but he will be fine for the Games. The men's discus throw event of Rio Olympics is scheduled on August 12.
33-year-old Gowda, who also won a gold in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, is based in the United States and he has not taken part in any competitive event since making the Rio cut in December last year, that also after the world governing body IAAF reduced the qualification standard to 65m from 66m.
"I have spoken to Gowda's father and he said his son has suffered a minor shoulder injury. I cannot send a doctor to US and assess Gowda's injury. I have to believe in what his father says. His father says it's a minor injury and he should be fine for Olympics. I have to believe in that," Sumariwalla said at a media briefing with a select group of journalists.
"He (Gowda) will have to prove his fitness sometime before the start of Olympics. It will not be a trial but he will have to prove that he is fit to take part in Olympics. Gowda will undergo some kind of throwing session from which we can know he is fit. We will get to know this from his father and the coach," he said.
Besides Gowda, three other Rio-qualified athletes -- marathon runner Kavita Raut and 20km race walkers Khushbir Kaur and Sapna -- have also been placed subject to fitness.
"Kavita Raut, Khushbir and Sapna will also have to prove fitness before going to Rio," the AFI president said, while issuing the names of 38 athletes, including 18 women, who have qualified for the Olympics.
Yesterday was the deadline for Rio qualification in track and field events.
Gowda, Kavita, Khushbir and Sapna have been marked "subject to fitness" against their names in the list.
Sumariwalla conceded that it was a "setback" for the AFI that Gowda has suffered an injury but expressed delight that a record 38 athletes have qualified for the Summer Games.
The injury means that Gowda will go straight to the discus throw event in the Olympics without any competition. He used to compete in some legs of the elite Diamond League series every year but this season he has not taken part in any so far.
A few legs of the Diamond League series are scheduled in the run-up to the Olympics but he is unlikely to take part in any of them.