Congratulating Indian athletes for enabling the country send its largest contingent to the upcoming Rio Olympics, former star athlete Anju Bobby George has asserted that she expects several of them to reach the finals of their respective events.
A total of 36 Indian athletes — in the 121-member contingent —have qualified for the Rio Games, including the 4x400 metres men’s relay team that recently set a new national record on their way to earning qualification for the Olympics.
“Winning a medal is difficult in athletics. But I expect a lot them to reach the finals of the events. I expect several of them to do so. I think by the 2024 Olympics, we can reach near to a medal,” said Anju.
Anju, who clinched a bronze at the 2003 World Championships, asserted that she has high hopes of the 4x400m relay teams in both men’s and women’s categories as well as Dutee Chand, who became the first from the country to qualify for the women’s 100 metre event in 36 years.
“The timings of the men’s 4x400 metre relay team is only behind the US this season. I expect them to reach the final. If they give the same performance there, they will definitely be in the final. They are a great team and I am sure they will make the country very proud,” Anju said.
Anju also had high praise for sprinter Dutee Chand. Banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in 2014 for suspected hyperandrogenism (hirsuitism), the Orissa girl has staged a spirited comeback and has become the first Indian woman athlete to qualify for the Olympics 100m sprint since the legendary P.T. Usha at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
“Dutee is another athlete I have high hopes on. Qualifying for the 100 metres sprint is no mean feat. Both the men’s and women’s 100 metres event is extremely tough. But Dutee has now managed to put her troubles behind her and will surely do well in Rio,” she added.