Shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Punjab) qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games with a hefty 21.49m effort while sprinter Dutee Chand, discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur and the India 4x400m relay team also set new National Records in the Indian Grand Prix 4 athletics meet at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports on Monday.
The 26-year-old Tajinderpal Singh Toor, whose previous best was 20.92m, became the 11th individual Indian track and field athlete to qualify for Tokyo2020 by going past the qualifying mark of 21.10m with each of his four legal puts. He sealed the berth with his opening try and had other puts of 21.28, 21.13 and 21.13 besides no marks with his second and sixth attempts.
Dutee Chand mounted a gallant effort to crack the Olympic qualifying standard of 11.15 seconds in the women’s 100m. While she rewrote her own National Record, she was a heart-breaking two-hundredths of a second away from the magic mark. She also anchored the Indian team to a victory in the 4x100m relay in 43.37 seconds.
Kamalpreet Kaur also said she wanted to show her gratitude for the opportunity to compete with a good series as the sole competitor in the women’s Discus Throw event. Aiming for a 69m effort on Monday, she started with 63.41m throw before two fouls. She followed those with a 62.33m throw and uncorked her new National Record throw of 66.69m.
There were also game efforts by Hima Das (Assam) in the women’s 200m and Harmilan Kaur Bains (Punjab) in the women’s 1500m to take a crack at the Olympic qualifying marks but both fell short by small margins. Hima Das won the sprint in 22.88 seconds, a mere 0.08 seconds off the qualifying mark while Harmilan Bains, chasing 4:04.20, won the metric mile in 4:08.27.
– Tapas Bhattacharya