The Indian athletics contingent is all set to face its first major challenge of the year at the Asian Athletics Championships 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand. The four-day event, starting from July 12, not only serves as a preparation for the upcoming Asian Games but also acts as a qualifying avenue for the 2023 World Championships. The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had initially named a 54-member squad for the championships, but injuries and doping charges have resulted in a reduced team.
Unfortunately, the Indian team will be without the services of Neeraj Chopra and Avinash Sable, who are currently training abroad. However, there are still plenty of big names to look out for. In the 2019 edition of the Asian Athletics Championships, India finished fifth with two gold medals and 15 medals overall. This year, the Indian athletes will be aiming to improve upon their previous performance and make their mark on the international stage.
The Asian Athletics Championships 2023 hold immense importance for the Indian contingent. Not only does it provide an opportunity for Indian athletes to gauge their competition ahead of the Asian Games, but it also allows them to score ranking points for the World Championships. For instance, long jumper Shaili Singh, currently ranked 31 in the Road to Budapest rankings, has a chance to solidify her position in the top 36 athletes who will qualify for the World Championships with a strong performance at the Asian Championships.
Several Indian athletes have been in top form leading up to the Asian Athletics Championships 2023. One athlete to watch out for is 100m hurdler Jyothi Yarraji, who has consistently run under the 13s mark this year. Sreeshankar Murali, fresh from a third-place finish at the Paris Diamond League, will be aiming to clinch the gold in the long jump event. Shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor, who recently broke the Asian record, will also be keen to defend his title. Another athlete making his debut for India is Tejaswin Shankar, who narrowly missed the national record in the decathlon event earlier this year.
Unfortunately, the Indian squad for the Asian Athletics Championships 2023 has been marred by controversy. Shot putter Karanveer Singh failed a dope test and was subsequently dropped from the team. Additionally, two more members of the Indian team, one woman sprinter and one woman quarter-miler, have also tested positive for banned substances and have not traveled to Thailand. These incidents have cast a shadow over the Indian contingent, but the remaining athletes are determined to give their best and make the country proud.
Notable absentees from the Asian Athletics Championships 2023 include Neeraj Chopra and Avinash Sable. Neeraj recently made a successful comeback from injury, winning the Lausanne Diamond League, and has now shifted his focus to the World Championships. Sable, on the other hand, will be competing in the men’s 3000m steeplechase at the Silesia Diamond League in Poland. Both athletes have already qualified for the World Championships and have decided to prioritize their training and participation in other events.
The Indian squad for the Asian Athletics Championships 2023 comprises a talented group of athletes in various disciplines. From Murali Sreeshankar in long jump to Jyothi Yarraji in hurdles, the team boasts a strong lineup. The men’s squad also includes notable names like Tajinderpal Singh Toor in shot put and Tejaswin Shankar in decathlon. On the women’s side, athletes like Shaili Singh in high jump and Annu Rani in javelin throw will be looking to make their mark.