Principal Correspondent :
Nikita, Prajakta, Yamini finish on podium but were way behind qualifying timing
CITY’S long distance runners Nikita Raut, Prajakta Godbole and Yamini Thakre impressed all with their podium finish performances but were far from the qualifying timing on the opening day of the Maharashtra Senior State Selection Trials. The two-day trials are under way at Minatai Thakre Sports Complex in Nashik. Nikita Raut and Prajakta Godbole finished one-two while Yamini emerged winner in their respective categories. But all the three girls from Nagpur missed the qualifying mark put up by the Maharashtra Athletics Association. In the women’s 10000 metres run, Nikita won the race with a timing of 35:59:60 secs while Prajakta finished second in 36:13.90 secs. However, the qualifying timing for the event was 35:00:00 put up by Athletics Federation of India. Similarly, Yamini Thakre won the women’s 1500 metres race with a timing of 5:06:80 secs but she too failed to cross the line in the qualifying timing of 4:30:00.
The selected players will be participating in the 16th National Inter-State Athletics Championship to be held at Patiala from June 25-29. The nationals will also serve as the qualifying event for Tokyo Olympics. Hence the qualifying timing is kept so high. “Though our athletes performed well, they failed to make the cut as the qualifying timings were too high. The timing was fixed keeping in view the Olympic qualifying event which will be the nationals,” said Dr Sharad Suryawanshi, Secretary, Nagpur District Athletics Association while talking with ‘The Hitavada’.
“There will be around 100 athletes from India and same number from foreign countries during the 60 national championship. It (qualifying timing) is kept as per Olympics standard,” added Dr Suryawanshi. The NDAA secretary was of the view that the reason for city players failing to qualify is lack of actual field taining and running. “The lockdown has impacted their performances. The athletes did perform endurance training but actual running was not possible during the lockdown period in the district. “Same was the case with athletes of other districts and states. Only those who attended the national camp at various SAI centres managed to get proper training,” reasoned Dr Suryawanshi.