Indian athletes reach Amman for Asian meet


Amman : The 38-member Indian athletics team reached here Monday to participate in the 17th Asian Athletics Championship starting in two day's time – and to improve on their previous showing.

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Three athletes – Navpreet Singh, Krishna Poonia and Harwant Kaur – will join the squad Wednesday for the competition to be held at the Amman International Stadium.

The Indian team looks confident of winning more medals than in the 2005 Incheon Asian Championship, when they bagged four gold, five silver and four bronze medals.

Discus thrower Vikas Gowda will face a tough challenge from Iranians Ehasan Hadidi and Abbas Samimi and the Qataris.

Renjith, who became the first Indian to cross 17 metres in triple jump, will challenge Ibrahim Babikir Mohamdein of Qatar and Duk-Hyun Kim of Korea for a podium place.

Joseph Abraham, who broke the 50-second barrier in 400m hurdles in the recently concluded Asian Grand Prix, will try to improve further and aim for a medal.

Middle and long distance runners Surender Singh and Sunil Kumar will pose a tough test for the Qatar and Bahrain runners.

The Indian women have a chance to get more medals than their male counterparts. The 4x400m relay team has a good chance to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

In 800m and 1,500m, Sinimol Paulose will fight for the title with Chinese, Japanese and Kazakh runners.

In the absence of Soma Biswas, J.J. Shobha and Susmita Singha Roy hope to give a tough fight to the Kazakh participant in heptathlon.

Discus throwers Krishna Poonia and Harwant Kaur face tough competition from the Chinese.