Five JSW-backed Athletes In Federation Cup Fray

April 27 2016,  17.03 PM IST || Pocket News Alert

27th April, 2016, New Delhi: Five JSW-supported athletes will be in action at the 20th Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championship which gets underway at the Jawharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi from Thursday, 28th April. Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, long jumper Premkumar Kumaravel, 3000m steeplechase athletes Lalita Babar, Sudha Singh and 1500m runner OP Jaisha are the five JSW Sports Excellence Program athletes who will be seen in action.

Five JSW-backed Athletes In Federation Cup Fray

While Lalita, Sudha and Jaisha have clinched qualification for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Neeraj and Premkumar will be in the fray for sealing their spots for August's sporting extravaganza.

Neeraj Chopra, the 19-year-old javelin thrower came close to sealing Olympic qualification at February's South Asian Games where he won the Gold with a throw of 82.23 meters, equalling the National Record (NR). The qualification mark for the Olympics is set at 83 meters and Neeraj's steady improvement has given his coaches enough cause to believe that the Federation Cup will see him put in another strong performance.

Premkumar Kumaravel has recently returned from a 25-day training stint at the High Performance Centre (HPC) at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. The 22-year-old won a Silver at the 2016 Asian Indoor Championships in Doha with a best leap of 7.92 meters but he will have to do much better, if he has to realise his Olympic dream as the qualification mark for Rio is pegged at 8.15 meters.

Lalita Babar achieved Rio qualification in June 2015 with her Gold-winning performance at the Asian Athletics Championship in Wuhan, China. A couple of months later, she became the first Indian athlete to qualify for the finals of a track event at the IAAF World Championship, finishing eighth in the 3000m steeplechase.

Lalita will be joined by Sudha Singh who like OP Jaisha has already qualified for the Olympics in the women's marathon. Sudha will be looking to book a berth in the steeplechase as well, the qualification mark being set at a time of 9.45.00 seconds. OP Jaisha will be competing in the 1500m, where the qualification standard is 4.07.00 seconds.

Neeraj said that after his Gold medal effort at the Indian Grand Prix, he would be leaving no stone unturned in trying to qualify for the Rio Olympics. "The Federation Cup is a great opportunity for me as far as Rio is concerned. We will have all top Indian athletes competing and the high level of competition will be a motivating factor. In the last couple of months after the South Asian Games, I have worked on a few aspects of my throwing and I believe that I am much better prepared this time around to throw the spear further," he said.

Sudha, who has been training under Belarusian coach, Dr. Nikolai Snesarev, at Ooty and in Bengaluru said that the Meet would provide some track-time and race practice, that would provide an effective marker of where they stood. "We have been working on our endurance and speed in Ooty and since the past month in Bengaluru. We will get a feel of how much the work we have put in has helped us in Delhi at the Federation Cup. This is an important competition and with still four months to go for the Olympics, it will be of good use to identify certain areas where we need improvement", he said.

Sudha Singh, OP Jaisha and Lalita Babar train under the gaze of Dr. Nicolai Snesarev at the High Altitude Training Centre in Ooty.