Budapest: The biennial spectacle of the World Athletics Championships kicks off today, poised to showcase the prowess of over 2000 athletes hailing from 200 nations, all vying for glory across 49 exhilarating events. Amidst this global gathering of athletic excellence, India’s hopes rest on the shoulders of a 28-strong contingent led by the illustrious Olympic gold medalist, Neeraj Chopra.
Budapest becomes the epicentre of the athletic universe as athletes converge to compete across a spectrum of events. The Indian squad encompasses a diverse range of talents, including seven Keralites who have journeyed to this prestigious platform. M. Sreeshankar and Abdullah Abubakar, the luminaries of long jump and triple jump, respectively, will participate in individual events. Additionally, the 4×400 relay team comprises Muhammad Anas, Muhammad Ajmal, Amoj Jacob, and Mijo Chacko Kurian.
Reflecting on past performances, India’s record in the World Athletics Championships has yielded only two medals across the last 19 editions. Anju Bobby George’s triumphant feat in 2003 and Neeraj Chopra’s groundbreaking victory in 2022 stand as emblematic achievements. Eager to rewrite history, India is pinning its aspirations on the prospect of clinching a coveted gold medal, a dream that has eluded the nation for over three decades.
The competition begins with a fervent stride as the men’s 20-kilometre walk takes centre stage for the Indian athletes. Akash Deep Singh, Vikas Singh, and Paramjeet Singh are poised to compete in this category, aiming to showcase their tenacity and endurance. Joining them are Commonwealth Games gold and silver medalists Aldous Paul and Abdullah Abubakar, who, accompanied by Praveen Chitravel, prepare to captivate the audience in the triple jump qualifiers.
With the first day in motion, India’s medal hopefuls embark on their respective journeys. Avinash Sable, entrusted with the challenge of the 3000 steeplechase heats, Ajay Kumar, a contender in the 1500m heats, and Shaili Singh, representing India in the women’s long jump qualifying round, step onto the track, fueled by determination and aspirations of podium finishes.