India’s leading javelin throwers, including Jakarta Asian Games champion and Olympic-bound Neeraj Chopra, will miss the Muller Grand Prix in Gateshead, Great Britain, this month due to pandemic.
“We are not going to compete in Great Britain as European nations aren’t issuing visas because of the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic in India. Javelin throwers were supposed to go to Turkey for training in the last week of April, but the training stint was postponed as there was a 15-day quarantine rule for Indians,” one of the athletes told IANS.
The Gateshead event, scheduled to be held on May 23, is part of the highly competitive Diamond League series sanctioned by World Athletics.
On Wednesday, Chopra, 23, raised a concern of missing international competitions due to pandemic.
“Due to pandemic we couldn’t compete in 2020. We aren’t getting opportunities to compete this year too due to Covid-19. Lack of international exposure is hurting us,” Chopra said during an online media interaction.
Javelin is one of the seven events in the men’s category scheduled for the one-day Gateshead meet. The 200m, 1500m, 5000m and 3000m steeplechase, long jump and pole vault are other events for men.
Competitions in the women’s group will be conducted in 100m 400m, 1500m 100mh, high jump, triple jump and shot put.
Not all Indians athletes are eligible to compete in the series of Diamond League. But Chopra, due to his outstanding performances, has participated in the past. He could have got entry this season too because of his national record of 88.07m, set in March.
Long jumper Murali Sreeshankar, whose personal best is 8.26m, and middle distance runner Avinash Sable too could have got entries for May 23 competition. Sable has qualified in men’s 3000m steeplechase for the Tokyo Olympics, starting July 23.