Dutee Chand to headline Indian Grand Prix athletics

The Asian Games silver medallist will compete in both the 100m and the 200m races. Hima Das among many top athletes to skip season opener.

By Naveen Peter ·

The 100m women’s national record holder Dutee Chand has confirmed her participation in the season’s first Indian Grand Prix at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala on February 18.

Dutee Chand, a silver medallist from the 2018 Asian Games, will compete in both the 100m and the 200m races when the domestic season kicks off for the track athletes this weekend. The event is an Olympic qualifier for the Tokyo Games.

Also confirming his participation at the Grand Prix is the 100m national record holder for men, Amiya Kumar Mallick, the 400m national record holder Muhammed Anas, Asian Games bronze medallist Arokia Rajiv (200m), Noah Nirmal Tom (200m) and Dharun Ayyasamy (400m hurdles).

“I’m treating the competition as a warmup race for the Federation Cup to be held next month. I will see how my body reacts to the race as I’m racing after a long gap due to the pandemic and then prepare for the competition next month,” Amiya Kumar Mallick told IANS.

Meanwhile, the gold medallist in 800m from the 2018 Asian Games Manjeet Singh, the long jump national record holder Murali Sreeshankar and the 200m star in the women’s half, Hima Das, are among the notable athletes who will sit out.

Javelin ace Neeraj Chopra will not be present as his discipline is not among the events scheduled. Javelin will be a part of Indian GP II.

A total of 15 events, including two races each in the men's 100m and 200m sprints, is scheduled.

The meet has seen a limited number of entries with athletes in their final stretch of preparations.

The men’s 400m and the 800m races have received just eight entries while the women’s 200m and 800m has just three entries. Women’s discus and shot put, too, have just three entries each.

The 4x400m mixed relay team and Avinash Sable (3000m steeplechase) are the only Indian track athletes who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics so far. The domestic meets are seen as an opportunity for the Indians to clock the Olympic qualifying standard.

The first Indian GP on February 18 will be followed by Indian GP II on February 25 before the Federation Cup on March 15-19.

Indian Grand Prix I athletics events

Men: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 5000m, 400m hurdles, long jump, triple jump and shot put

Women: 100m, 200, 400m, 800m, 5000m, long jump, shot put, discus throw