Runners in the Bhawana Jat and KT Irfan race underwent fitness tests on Friday, while another athlete with an M Sreeshankar Olympic tie will have to prove his fitness to confirm his participation in the Tokyo Games on July 21st. Bhawana and Irfan, both 20-kilometer runners, and long-distance jumper Sreeshankar were told by the Indian Athletics Federation (AFI) to test the season. All three are training at the Indian Sports Authority (SAI) center in Bengaluru. “We can’t take unsuitable athletes to the Olympics. We need to check when the athletes qualified for the Olympics, without injury or if they are fit for competition,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla told PTI.
“It’s just a fitness test and we’re not looking at any titles (brands),” he added.
Irfan was the first athlete to qualify for the March 2019 Olympics at the Asian Walking Race Championships in Nomi, Japan. His last competition in March was at the Ranchin National Race Walking Championships where he did not finish the race.
He was hired by COVID-19 in May and has since recovered. Bhawana qualified for the Olympics by winning the Women’s 20-kilometer test at the 2020 National Walking Championships before the Pandemic Struck. He was second behind Priyanka Goswami, another runner in the Olympic race, in March in Ranchi at this year’s national walking championship.
“I did my fitness test today and I did well. I am happy with my performance,” he said from the SAI center in Bengaluru.
Sreeshankar will also do his fitness season in Bengaluru on July 21st.
In March he qualified for the Tokyo Olympics at the National Senior Federation Athletics Championships. After warming up on the NIS Patial field, he came out of the National Inter-State Championship (June 25-29).
“Sreeshankar has no problem, Patialan was very wet that day and we didn’t want any injuries, as he has already qualified for the Olympics. So he took it out as a preventative measure,” said father S Murali.
“My son was asked to take a fitness test on July 21 in SAI Bengaluru. He is fine. He will do well and prove his fitness.”
AFI has selected a 26-member Indian team for the Olympics, which will open on July 23rd. The athletics tests will begin on July 30 and the athletes will travel to Tokyo in the last week of this month.
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