PT Usha chooses Neeraj to end India’s medal shortage
Has the impression that the young Sreeshankar can create a big surprise; hope for Kamalpreet and Annu Rani
Every time PT Usha saw javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra at the 2016 Under-20s in Poland, it reminded him of his racing days.
“Even when he was out for a walk, I remember him trying throws like he was wearing an imaginary javelin,” said Usha, who was then in Poland with her intern Jisna Mathew, in a conversation with The Hindu Tuesday.
“I did this a lot when I was young… if I saw an obstacle anywhere or even a rock in the road, I would run and try to get over it.
“Neeraj looked so strong and confident back then. And when he won gold at the world junior championships with a world record, I felt he would go a long way,” she said. declared.
Usha, who narrowly came close to winning an Olympic medal in the 400m hurdles in 1984 in Los Angeles, believes Neeraj will end India’s long wait for her first ever Olympic track and field medal.
“Neeraj did 88m earlier this year, he could probably exceed 90m. I think he’s capable of winning a medal, ”said Usha, now a top trainer.
She also thinks long jumper Mr. Sreeshankar can produce a big surprise.
“He’s number 2 on the team. Considering his age, Sreeshankar has made some big jumps. He may not be very consistent and it may be because he has not had an international competition this year.
“But he’s young and that’s why I think he can surprise us all with a great show,” Usha said. “But he shouldn’t be under any pressure. If he’s bold and free, he can reach the final and do really well after that, ”she said.
Usha selected discus thrower Kamalpreet and javelin thrower Annu Rani as two other athletes capable of advancing to their respective finals.
“Kamalpreet broke Krishna Poona’s national record and made it over 66 and Annu Rani was very consistent so I think both will make the final.
“Shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor could also be successful if he repeats his big throws,” she said.
But it does not leave much hope for the 4x400m relay teams (mixed and men).
“Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Anas, Revathi and Subha will probably run the mixed relay but the two girls are not able to go below 53 so it will be very difficult.
“And some of our top men haven’t done a lot of quarter-mile races this year. So you can’t predict anything in the men’s relay, ”she said.