Top names give a miss to Asian Athletics

Neeraj Chopra Doha: A severely depleted Indian contingent is unlikely to repeat their unprecedented top-of-the-table finish in the last edition but is still expected to win a substantial number of medals when the Asian Athletics Championships begins here on Sunday.

India had finished on top of the table with a record-breaking haul of 29 medals (12 gold, 5 silver, 12 bronze) in the 2017 edition held in Bhubaneswar. China was second with 20 medals. But this time, the 42-member Indian team are not expected to achieve that kind of a success with several athletes, including star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, missing out of the continental flagship event due to various reasons, including injuries.

The biggest name in Indian athletics, Neeraj has suffered an elbow sprain during practice in Patiala and he is not defending the title he had won in 2017. National record holders Dharun Ayyasamy (men’s 400m Hurdles), M. Sreeshankar (men’s long jump) and Asian Games 800m gold medallist Manjit Singh were also not named in the team due to injuries.

The number of medals as well as gold count is certain to come down from the last edition.