Chief national athletics coach Bahadur Singh is of the belief that India will claim something around 20 medals in the Asian Athletics Championships starting from tomorrow in Doha, Qatar. However, Bahadur has also said not to ask him particularly about the gold medals in the 23rd Asian Championships.
After the Indian athletes bagged a total of 19 medals, including seven golds, at the Asian Games in Indonesia, they would want to repeat the same heroics in the 23rd edition of the Asian Athletics Championships this month. However, many top athletes are not going to be a part of the championships due to injury and that might hurt India’s chances when it comes to winning particular events to bag gold medals. India will miss the services of Neeraj Chopra who had won gold medals in javelin throw both at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games last year.
India’s chief athletics coach Bahadur is optimistic about the team winning around 20 medals but said not to ask him about the gold medals at the continental event.
“Don’t ask me particularly about gold because this is a period (early season) when nobody can be sure who will finish first or second. But our medal tally will be something like 20, like in the Asiad, plus or minus two,” Bahadur told The Hindu.
“We will certainly win gold medals, our relay teams are strong, we are strong in shot put (Tajinder Pal Singh Toor) too. If there are no golds, they will be silver but the chances are good that we will get gold.”
India’s 800m runner Manjit Singh and quarter-miler Dharun Ayyasamy will miss out due to injuries while triple jumper Arpinder Singh failed to qualify for the Championships. In the previous edition in Bhubaneswar, India had ended at the top of the medals’ tally with a total of 29 medals which included 12 golds as well. The coach stated that the preparations for the next edition have been good from Sports Authority of India, Athletics Federation of India (AFI) and the coaches’ side.
“From our side, from the SAI and federation’s side, the preparations were good but if your athletes are on leave often, going for awards and prize-money functions, that is not very encouraging,” explained Bahadur.
“Hima Das was away (from the camp) for 40 days, she has given exams and other things as reasons.”
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