Shot-putter Tajinder Toor qualifies for Olympics
(Sourced from PTI)
Shot-putter Tajinder Pal Singh Toor qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with an Asian and national record throw at the Indian Grand Prix 4 in Patiala. 26-year-old Toor, a 2018 Asian Games gold winner, crossed the Olympic qualification mark of 21.10m with a throw of 21.49m, which was his first attempt, and broke his own national record.
Toor came up with big throws of 21.28m, 21.12m, 21.13m in his third, fourth, and fifth efforts in the game. The previous national record, which was also Toor's, stood at 20.92m and was set in 2019. The athlete from Punjab also shattered the 12-year-old Asian record of 21.13m which was in the name of Sultan Abdulmajeed Al-Hebshi of Saudi Arabia since 2009.
Toor said the qualification has come as a return of good fortune for him. "I had several injuries last year. This tournament is a big relief. I am now aiming to cross 22m," he said. His record-breaking performance is subject to clearing a dope test. It is learned that officers from the National Anti-Doping Agency were in attendance for the one-day meet at NIS-Patiala.
Toor's performance on Monday will put him at the 15th spot on the road to Tokyo list. To put Toor's performance in perspective, the bronze winners in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics had crossed 21.23m and 21.36m respectively. Apart from Toor, the national women's 4x100m relay team and sprinter Dutee Chand also breached the previous best marks in the country.
Chand shattered the national record in the women's 100m event by completing the race in 11.17 seconds, agonizingly close to the Olympic qualification time of 11.15 seconds. The previous record was 11.22 seconds, also in the name of Chand. Despite failing to cross the Olympic qualification mark, she is expected to make the Tokyo Games on the basis of world rankings.
The women's relay team, however, failed to place itself inside the Olympic qualifying bracket despite a record effort of its own. The quartet of Hima Das, Dutee Chand, S Dhanalakshmi, and Archana Suseendran clocked 43.37 seconds to win the race ahead of the India B team (48.02 seconds) and Maldives (50.74 seconds) in the three-team race.
Hima Das clinched the 200m top honors with a personal best time of 22.88 seconds. Her timing was not far behind the automatic qualification mark of 22.80 seconds. In the men's long jump, Olympic-bound M Sreeshankar won the event with a best effort of 7.74m.