Federation Cup: Toor, Aldrin fail to hit Paris mark - Hindustan Times
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Federation Cup: Toor, Aldrin fail to hit Paris mark

May 15, 2024 12:15 AM IST

Toor was nowhere near the automatic qualification mark of 21.50m for the Paris Games.

Long jumper Jeswin Aldrin and shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor failed to meet the Paris Olympics qualification mark on an overall below-par day for Indian athletes at the ongoing Federation Cup in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.

Bhubaneswar: Tajinderpal Singh Toor of Punjab poses for the media after winning the men's shot put event at the 27th National Federation Senior Athletics Competition, in Bhubaneswar, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (PTI)
Bhubaneswar: Tajinderpal Singh Toor of Punjab poses for the media after winning the men's shot put event at the 27th National Federation Senior Athletics Competition, in Bhubaneswar, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (PTI)

Aldrin, who has been off the boil for over a year since setting the national record (8.42m) at the Indian Open Jumps Competition last March, logged the best effort of 7.99m to finish on top. However, he was 28cms shy of the Olympics entry standard of 8.27m.

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Among the male long jumpers, only Murali Sreeshankar has met the Paris mark — he leapt 8.37m at the Asian Championships in July 2023 — but Aldrin remains in Paris contention by virtue of rankings. As per Road to Paris rankings, the 22-year-old from Tamil Nadu is currently placed 26th; he needs to stay within the top-32 by June 30 to book his berth for his maiden Olympics. Sreeshankar is set to miss the Olympics following an injury to his left knee that needed surgery.

Starting with 7.93m, Aldrin produced jumps of 7.85m and 7.87m before fouling his next two efforts. He signed off with 7.99m to take the top spot. Karnataka's S Arya's 7.83m leap took him to the second spot while Kerala's Muhammed Anees Yahiya (7.81m) took the third place. Aldrin, who burst onto the scene a couple of years back at the same competition with a wind-aided jump of 8.37m, has managed to jump over 8m only twice in the Paris qualification period that began on July 1 last year. The last time he touched 8m was at the qualifying round of the World Championships in August.

Asian record holder shot putter Toor cantered to an expected gold, but a series of 20.14, x, 20.38, x, x, x meant the 29-year-old was nowhere near the automatic qualification mark of 21.50m for the Paris Games. Toor's personal best of 21.77m had come at the same venue last June — outside the qualification window.

Toor began his outdoor season at the Indian Open Throws Competition at his training base in Patiala in March where a throw of 19.82m was enough to earn him a win. With the June 30 deadline for direct entry looming, Toor will have to make the most of the clutch of domestic events lined up — Indian GP 2 in Chennai on May 30, Indian GP 3 in Bengaluru on June 12, and National Inter State Championships in Panchkula (June 27-30).

In the men's 3000m steeplechase, Madhya Pradesh's Sumit Kumar took the top spot with a time of 8:39.67m. Maharshtra's Dhuladev Ghagar with 8:46.65m was next, followed by Haryana's Ankit Rajesh who clocked 8:46.97m. Reigning Asian Games champion Avinash Sable is the only Indian male steeplechaser to have booked the Paris ticket by meeting the entry standard of 8:15.00 — he had finished Silesia Diamond League with a time of 8:11.63m last July. The 29-year-old armyman is yet to open the season in his pet discipline. He is currently training in Colorado Springs in the US.

The last day of the competition will witness Indian athletics' golden boy Neeraj Chopra in action. The Olympic and world champion is set to compete in India for the first time since winning the historic gold medal in Tokyo. Chopra's last competition at home was the Federation Cup in March 2021 which he won with a throw of 87.80m. The 26-year-old two-time Asian Games gold medallist kickstarted his season with a second-place result at the Doha Diamond League last week where he threw 88.36m.

Besides Chopra, Asian Games silver medallist Kishore Jena, who has also qualified for Paris, will be in action in his home state. While Chopra and Jena will warm up for the Games, Asian Championships silver medallist DP Manu will chase a direct ticket to Paris. The qualifying mark is set at 85.50m and Manu, who won Indian GP 1 (81.91m) last month, will have to better his personal best (84.35m) to get there.

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