The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has released a list of qualifying standards for Indian athletes looking to make the cut for the Asian Games 2022, which will be held in Hangzhou, China from September 10 to 25.
Men’s javelin throw star Neeraj Chopra, who clinched India’s first-ever track and field Olympic medal with gold at Tokyo 2020 in August, will be aiming to defend his Asian Games title in China.
At the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta - the last edition of the continental championships - India won an impressive 20 medals – 8 gold, 9 silver, and 3 bronze - in athletics.
This time, the AFI has set tough qualifying standards for the Hangzhou Games.
In the men’s 100m and 200m, Indian athletes will be required to better existing national records to get selected for the continental championships.
The men’s 100m qualifying mark has been set at 10.17 seconds. The existing national record set by Amiya Mallick, is 10.26 seconds. In 2018, the qualifying standard was 10.18.
In the men’s 200m, the qualifying mark is 20.61 seconds. The national record of 20.63 seconds is held by Muhammad Anas Yahiya.
Muhammad Anas Yahiya also holds a 400m national record of 45.21 and will have to clear AFI’s qualifying standard of 45.89 seconds to run in Hangzhou. For Jakarta 2018, the qualifying standard was set at 46.04.
Among women, Asian Games 2018 medallist Dutee Chand will need to better her silver-winning efforts in both 100m and 200m sprints.
Dutee Chand had clocked 11.32 and 23.20 in 100 and 200m, respectively, in Jakarta but will have to improve to 11.20 and 23.00 to meet the Asian Games 2022 qualifying standards.
Dutee Chand had clocked 11.17 seconds in Patiala earlier this year - her personal best. Meanwhile, her best in 200m, 23.00 seconds, came in 2018.
Another promising sprinter Hima Das, who won silver at the 2018 edition in 400m, will have to make significant progress after injuries forced her to compete in shorter sprints – 100m and 200m.
Selection process for the Asian Games
The qualifying standards for the Asian Games can be different for each nation, unlike the Olympics where qualifying marks for every nation are the same.
The respective federations set their own standards which athletes need to achieve within a fixed qualifying window to be eligible for selection in the final team.
If none of the athletes in a particular event manage to meet the qualification standard, the selection committee may select the athletes they feel have the best chance of winning a medal at the event.
A fixed number of quotas is allocated to each federation based on past performances and other factors. Respective federations can select their final team to fill up the maximum quota allocated to them.