Nirmala Sheoran from Haryana qualified for the upcoming Rio Olympics on Friday after clocking a timing of 51.48 seconds in women’s 400m at the Senior National Inter-State Senior Athletics championships in Hyderabad. The Olympics qualifying mark for the event was set at 52.20 seconds.
The 22-year-old has not competed in any major event in the last few months and was fully focussed on making the cut for Rio. Nirmala, who is coached by Vijender Singh, had shown her ambitions to qualify for the quadrennial event yesterday, after clocking a timing of 52.35 seconds during the heats at the GMC Balayogi Stadium.
The Haryana girl led the race from the start to finish and recorded a personal best timing of 51.48 seconds to book the ticket to Rio and to better the previous meet mark set by MR Poovamma (51.73 seconds) in 2014.With the timing, she also became the 24th track-and-field athlete from India to qualify for Rio and increased the strength of the Indian Olympic contingent to 103.
“It is the result of two years of real hard work and training,” Nirmala’s proud coach Vijender Singh said, reported the Hindu.
Also read: Road to Rio: The great Indian dream
Former Indian athlete PT Usha also reacted on Nirmala’s achievement and expressed her delight about one more Indian athlete qualifying for the Olympics.
“She really ran well. The start was perfect and she was clearly leading right through.
“It was a terrific show and I am delighted that one more Indian athlete made it to the Olympics at Rio.”
More Indian athletes would be in with a chance to catch the flight to Rio after C.K. Valson, Secretary-general of Athletics Federation of India, informed the media that the AFI has decided to host the Indian Grand Prix in Bengaluru on July 10 and 11, just before the deadline of July 12, which is the last date for Athletes to qualify for Rio, reported the Hindu.