The tournament will present a final opportunity for a number of athletes to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

The 60th National Inter-State Athletics Championships will commence from June 25, 2021. The event will be held at the National Institute of Sports and Punjabi University in Patiala. The games will serve as the last chance for several high-profile Indian track & field athletes to secure a spot at the Olympics.

Hima Das and Dutee Chand will be the hopefuls to finally breach the qualification marks in their respective events. Both athletes were unable to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in the recent Indian Athletics Grand Prix 4. The Indian athletes displayed a good account of themselves in the tournament, where several national records were set.

Performance from the soon to be Olympians

Tejinder Indian Grand Prix Tokyo Olympics
Tejinder booked his place for the Tokyo Olympics

However, only Tajinderpal Toor managed to secure qualification for the Olympics. He threw a distance of 21.49m in the shot put event, after breaking his own national record twice. His throw of 21.49m would have been good enough for a Bronze medal at Rio 2016.

American duo Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs had finished top of the pile with a throw of 22.52m and 21.78m respectively. However, Toor’s throw would have eclipsed Tom Walsh of New Zealand, who had achieved 21.36m on that occasion.

Kamalpreet Kaur also managed to better her own personal best and set a new national record of 66.59m in discus throw at the Athletics Grand Prix. She will represent India at the Tokyo Olympics and is a huge medal hope for the country. Long-jumper M Sreeshankar, who will also travel to Japan delivered a disappointing performance on the other hand. 

Eyes on Dutee Chand and Hima Das

Hima Das
All eyes will be on Hima Das

More importantly, all eyes will be on Dutee Chand and Hima Das. The former is India’s best hope in the 100m event, who set a new national record at the Indian Grand Prix 4 after clocking in at 11.17 seconds. She needs to develop her timing by 0.02 seconds to book a direct place for the Tokyo Olympics.

The pressure is on Hima Das to deliver at the upcoming championships. The 21-year-old missed out on direct qualification for the Tokyo Olympics in both 4x100m relay and 200m events, despite setting a new national record in the latter. She clocked in at 22.88 and must improve her timing by 0.08 seconds.

Hima must also break the national record in the 200m event which stands at 22.82 seconds. The Dhing Express is the national record holder in 400m but is competing in the 200m event due to a back injury. 

The 4x100m relay event will be another chance to book a place at the Olympics for both sprinters. They set a new national record by clocking in a time of 43.27 seconds with their teammates Dhanalakshmi and Archana Suseentran. However, the direct qualification mark for women’s 4x100m is 43.05 seconds.

List of Major Events

Here is a list of some of the major events that will take place at the National Inter-State Athletics Championships from June 25:

25 June 2021 – Men’s 10000m Final – 6:00 am, Women’s 5000m Final – 6:45 am, Women’s 100m Hurdles Final – 6:00 pm, Women’s discus Throw Final – 6:30 pm.

26 June 2021 – Women’s Shot Put Final – 5:00 pm, Men’s 100m Final – 7:30 pm, Women’s 100m Final – 7:40 pm, Women’s 800m Final – 7:50 pm.

27 June 2021 – Men’s 5000m Final – 6:30 am, Men’s Triple Jump Final – 5:45 pm, Men’s Discus Throw – 6:00 pm, Men’s 110m Hurdles Final – 6:30 pm.

28 June 2021 – Men’s 400m Final – 6:10 pm, Women’s 400m Final – 6:20 pm, Men’s Long Jump Final – 6:30 pm, Men’s 4x100m Relay Final – 6:40 pm, Women’s 4x100m Relay Final – 7:00 pm, Men’s Shot Put Final – 7:20 pm

29 June 2021 – Men’s 200m Final – 6:00 pm, Women’s 200m Final – 6:15 pm, Men’s 4x400m Relay Final – 7:10 pm, Women’s 4x400m Relay Final – 7:30 pm.

The Athletics Federation of India will stream all the action live from the championships on their YouTube channel.

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