AFI adds 3 more athletes to Asian Games team

IMAGE: Priti Lamba was added to the squad for the upcoming Asian Games. Photograph: Kind courtesy Priti Lamba/Instagram

Haryana’s 3000m steeplechaser Priti Lamba was on Monday added to the Indian athletics team for the Hangzhou Asian Games along with top sprinter Amlan Borgohain and quartermiler Prachi, after the conclusion of the Indian Grand Prix 5 in Chandigarh.

The 27-year-old Lamba won the 3000m steeplechase on the final day of the IGP 5. She breached the Asian Games qualifying time of 9 minute 47 seconds set by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), by clocking 9:45.13 in a two-woman field.

She had finished second at the National Inter-State Championships behind Parul Chaudhary with a time of 9:52.89, and improved it to 9:48.50 while finishing fourth at the Asian Championships in July.


Uttar Pradesh’s Prachi got the approval of AFI selection committee to compete in the women’s 4x400m relay, while Borgohain will compete in the men’s 200m. The sports ministry has already announced a 65-member athletics team for the Asian Games last month. Monday’s inclusion of three athletes will make it a 68-member team.

AFI president Adille Sumariwalla had earlier said that Borgohain, the national record holder in both men’s 100m and 200m races, will be added to the Asian Games team. The AFI confirmed his inclusion in the team after a selection committee meeting in Chandigarh on Monday.

The 25-year-old Assam sprinter had failed to breach the qualifying standard of 20.61 seconds in both the Federation Cup and the National Inter-State Championships but had done so while winning a bronze at the World University Games in China last month with a time of 20.5 seconds.

The AFI selection panel also dropped injured men’s 20km race walk national record holder Akshdeep Singh and replaced him with Vikash Singh.

The national federation also decided not to select the men and women’s 4x100m relay teams as they failed to breach the qualifying marks.

There was a lot of anticipation as to whether the men’s and women’s 4x100m relay races would breach the Asian Games qualifying marks of 39 seconds and 44.50 seconds respectively. But both the teams’ quartets, made up of the best Indian runners, missed the qualifying mark.

The women’s Team A 4x100m quartet of Nithya Gandhe, Vijaya Kumari, Srabani Nanda and Jyothi Yarraji clocked 44.66 — 0.16 seconds shy of the qualifying mark.

The men’s Team A quartet of Harjit Singh, Amlan Blorgohain, Amiya Kumar Mallick and B Siva Kumar clocked 39.24 — 0.24 seconds outside the qualifying mark.

Sumariwalla had said at the pre-event press conference that 15 athletes may be added to the Asian Games team, which apparently was mainly based on the inclusion of 4x100m relay teams.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu’s Asian Games-bound R Vithya Ramraj emerged as the star of the Indian Grand Prix 5 as she came agonisingly close to breaking the legendary PT Usha’s 39-year-old women’s 400m hurdles record, clocking 55.43 seconds on Monday.

The 24-year-old Vithya’s personal best time was just one-hundredth of a second less than Usha’s 55.42 which she had clocked while finishing fourth in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Usha’s record is the second oldest national record in athletics after Shivnath Singh’s marathon NR of 1978.

“Madam Usha is so talented and that is why her record stood for so long. I wanted to break the record, it was in my mind before the race today. I wanted to be the new ma’am (Usha),” Vithya said.

“I was a bit slow in my first 200m and then picked up speed. Had I run faster in the first 200m, I would have broken the national record today itself. But there is the Asian Games coming up, and I will try to break the NR there,” the athlete added after her event.

Vithya has already made it to the Hangzhou Games beginning September 23 as she had breached the qualifying standard of 57.48 seconds while winning gold at the National Inter-State Championships in June with a time of 56.01.

Vithya’s timing will put her in the second spot in the season’s top list among the Asians behind Kemi Adekoya of Bahrain who clocked a continental record time of 53.09 while finishing fourth in the World Championships last month.

India’s Anu Raghavan had won a bronze in the 2018 Asian Games with a time of 56.92.

Veteran discus thrower Seema Punia, representing Uttar Pradesh, also breached the Asian Games qualifying distance of 57m by clearing 57.96m in her fourth round attempt. All her other five attempts were fouls.

The 40-year-old Punia, who had won a gold and a silver in the 2014 and 2018 editions of the Asian Games, had already been named in the Indian team. She had won gold in the National Inter-State Championships in mid-June with a throw of 56.50m.

Bal Kishan also missed the chance to make the cut as he finished at seventh place in the men’s 3000m steeplechase. He clocked 8:55.96 seconds.



800m: Ankesh Chaudhary (Himachal Pradesh) 1:48.12 secs, Sree Kiran (Tamil Nadu) 1:48.66 secs, Prakash Gadade (Maharashtra) 1:48.88 secs.

400m hurdles: Yashas P (Karnataka) 49.69 seconds (Karnataka), Dhaval Mahesh Utekar (Gujarat) 51.23 secs, Vijay Singh Malik (Haryana) 51.25 secs

3000m steeplechase: MD Nur Hasan (Uttar Pradesh) 8:35.00, Ankit Rajesh (Haryana) 8:44.04 secs, Pukeshwar Lal (Chhattisgarh) 8:44.90 secs.

Shot put: Sahib Singh (Delhi) 18.29m, Amandeep Singh (Punjab) 18.28m, Paramjeet Singh (Chandigarh) 17.38m.

Long jump: Aditya Kumar Singh (Madhya Pradesh) 7.62m, Rishabh Rishishwar (Uttar Pradesh) 7.53m, Sahil Mahabali (Haryana) 7.46m.

4x100m relay: Team A: Harjit Singh, Amlan Borgohain, Amiya Kumar Mallick, Siva Kumar B 39.24 secs, Team B: 40.63 secs. Team C: 41.64 secs


400m hurdles: R Vithya Ramraj (Tamil Nadu) 55.43 seconds, Sinchal Kaveramma (Karnataka) 58.46 secs, Ramandeep Kaur (Punjab) 1:01.02 secs.

3000m steeplechase: Priti Lamba (Haryana) 9: 45.13 secs, Kajalben Dineshbhai (Gujarat) 12:56.12 secs

Hammer throw: Tanya Chaudhary (UP) 62.60m,  KM Rachna (UP) 60.71m, KM Fatma (UP) 49.70m.

Discus throw: Seema (Uttar Pradesh) 57.96m, Anisha (Delhi) 47.72m.  Sunita of Haryana didn’t compete.

High jump: Rubina Yadav (Haryana) 1.79m, Abhinaya S Shetty (Karnataka) 1.79m, Rekha (Haryana) 1.70m.

4x100m relay: Team A: Nithya Gandhe, Vijaya Kumari, Srabani Nanda, Jyothi Yarraji 44.66 secs. Team B: 45.36. Team C: 47.90m.

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