National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships: Ankle pain forces Tajinderpal Singh Toor out of event

India’s top shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor is coping with an ankle pain, and he will miss the National Inter-State Athletics Championships, the final qualifying event for the upcoming Paris Olympics, beginning in Panchkula on Thursday.

Toor, an Asian record holder till a few days back, is set to qualify for the Paris Games through world ranking quota. He is the reigning Asian champion as well as Asian Games gold medallist.

“I am currently having slight ankle pain and my doctor told me not to throw for three-four weeks,” Toor told PTI without specifying when the pain began.

The 29-year-old Indian’s earlier Asian record of 21.77m was bettered on June 21 by Saudi Arabia’s Mohamed Daouda Tolo during the Estadio Vallehermoso event in Madrid with an effort of 21.80m.

It will have to be seen how the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) deals with Toor’s latest problem as the officials are tight-lipped as of now. The men’s shot put events in the Paris Olympics will be held on August 2 (qualifying round) and August 3 (final).

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Last month, AFI president Adille Sumariwalla had made it clear that except for Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, it will be mandatory for all the other athletes to participate in the National Inter-State Championships (June 27-30) to get selected for the Paris Olympics.

“Except for Neeraj, all the other athletes will have to participate in the National Inter-State Championships,” he had said on May 14 during the Federation Cup in Bhubaneswar.

AFI rules state that all the athletes will have to participate in the National Inter-State Championships if they have to get selected for major multi-sport events like the Olympics, Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games, unless the federation gives an exemption on the request of particular athletes or their coaches.

Toor has been struggling with injury issues in the last few years. He had undergone surgery on the left wrist of his throwing arm just after the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

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He had suffered a groin injury while winning gold at the Asian Championships in July 2023 in Bangkok, leading to pulling out of the World Championships in Budapest the following month.

Toor has not breached the automatic Paris Olympics qualifying mark of 21.50m during the window between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024. He had thrown 21.77m on June 19, 2023 but since then he has crossed the 20m mark only thrice.

Another Asian Games gold medallist Avinash Sable, who has also breached the automatics Paris Olympics qualifying mark in men’s 3000m steeplechase, is not in the list of competitors in his pet event. He has entered the fray in the 1500m event instead, according to AFI bib list for the championships.

National record holder 20km race walker Akshdeep Singh, who has also breached the Paris Games qualifying mark, is also missing from the list. Women’s 20km race walk national record holder Priyanka Goswami, who has also qualified for Paris Olympics, is also not in the list.

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