India’s star athletes Vikas Gowda, Nirmala Sheoran and Lalita Babar are set to be left out of India’s athletics squad for the upcoming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The trio had earlier decided to skip the 22nd edition of the Federation Cup Athletics Championship, which was made mandatory by AFI.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had made it clear before the meet that leading athletes should not skip the Federation Cup if they wanted they wanted their names to be considered for selection in the upcoming Commonwealth Games. The championship was the trio’s last chance to make it to the Gold Coast CWG cut-off.
However, star athletes Vikas Gowda and Nirmala Sheoran didn’t pay much heed to the protocols and are now paying the price for it. US-based Gowda stuck to his stand of not coming to India all the way from America. India’s lone gold medallist in athletics from Glasgow CWG has also informed AFI that he would look to qualify for the CWG from another international meet happening anywhere close to the US.
But the AFI has informed the discus thrower that he could only compete in competitions where the Indian athletics contingent is participating. There would be no further participation of Indians in any of the tournaments prior to the CWG as the Federation Cup was the last qualifying event.
On the other hand, the AFI was confident that Nirmala Sheoran would turn up for the meet. But, her whereabouts are not known either to the AFI or the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) yet. India’s leading 400m runner was a part of the camp
Meanwhile, long-distance runner Lalita Babar has opted out of the championship due to fitness issues. In the absence of these athletes, the limelight would be on long jumper Nayana James, high jumper Tejaswin Shankar, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, triple jumpers Renjith Maheshwary and Arpinder Singh, discus throwers Navjeet Kaur Dhillon and Seema Punia, and shot-putter Tajinder Pal Toor.
India had finished fifth in the previous edition of the Commonwealth Games, which was held in Glasgow in 2014. India had won 64 medals (15 gold, 30 silver and 19 bronze) then.