Long jumper Shaili Singh and quarter mile Priya Mohan, both U20 World Championship medalists, will jump the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) in Panchkula, Haryana, as the dates of the athletics events are very close to two major championships.
Originally scheduled for November-December last year, the KIYG has been postponed three times and will now be held June 4-13 with athletics June 7-9. It’s a bad calendar!
But the dates are between the Junior Federation Cup in Nandiad (Gujarat, June 2-4) and the Inter-State Nationals in Chennai (June 10-14), two crucial meetings like the Worlds (Oregon, USA), less than 20 years old. The Worlds (Cali, Colombia) and the Commonwealth Games (Birmingham, England) are scheduled for July and August this year.
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Shaili (silver) and Priya (bronze in the 4x400m mixed relay and fourth in the 400m individual) – both top seeds in the KIYG rankings – will compete in both the Junior Federation Cup and Inter-State to win valuable world ranking points that could earn the senior world championship places via the world ranking route and therefore decided to pass on the KIYG.
Priya is currently 56th in the women’s 400m in the World Athletics Road to Oregon rankings and with only 48 spots available for the Senior Worlds, she will do her utmost in her upcoming competitions to move up the rankings.
Shaili, who has only competed in one competition this year – the recent Bhubaneswar Grand Prix where she cleared 6.27m – after recovering from a back injury and COVID-19, hasn’t made it into the Oregon standings yet and so could desperately earn crucial points. .
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And when you do three competitions in 13 days, covering thousands of kilometers from Nandiad to Panchkula and then to Chennai without any break, there is a risk that the athlete will get injured. So the two young stars decided to play it safe.
“It’s quite disappointing and we’re sad about it. We can’t take any risks in this important year,” said Robert Bobby George, Shaili’s coach. Sportstar from Bangalore.
“No. Can’t do (KIYG)…dates collide. Interstate is the last qualifier for Senior Worlds,” Priya’s coach Arjun Ajay said.
Incidentally, Priya and Shaili have already qualified for the Junior Worlds.