The uncertainty over reigning champion discus thrower Vikas Gowda's participation for the Asian Athletics Championships starting here on Thursday ended on Tuesday with the national federation finally clearing his name at the last minute after a lot of deliberation.
High hurdler Siddhanth Thingalaya, who also underwent a trial at the Kalinga Stadium, the venue of the championships, on Sunday was also cleared to take part in the biennial continental flagship event which India is hosting for the third time.
Gowda, who turns 34 on Wednesday, could only throw the discus to a distance of 57.79m, which some national coaches thought would not be in the medal bracket.
The United States-based Indian would now be gunning for a hat-trick of gold medals in this edition. He had won a gold in the 2013 edition in Pune with an effort of 64.90m before grabbing the same yellow metal in the last edition in Wuhan, China with a throw of 62.03m.
Gowda had also won silver medals in Asian Championships in Incheon (Korea) in 2005 and Kobe (Japan) in 2011.
“All athletes who were asked to report for confirmatory trials, including national record holders Vikas Gowda (discus throw) and Siddhanth Thingalaya (110m hurdles), have been cleared to compete in the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships to be held at the Kalinga Stadium here,” the AFI said in a release.
“Gowda, who will seek to complete a hat-trick of AAC victories, and Siddhanth Thingalaya went through the confirmatory tests on Sunday since they had not competed in any domestic event in the run up to the Asian Championships,” it added.
Long jumpers Siddharth Mohan Naik and Nayana James as well as triple jumpers Karthik Unnikrishnan and Joyline M Lobo were cleared after trials on Saturday.
“We are pleased with the results of the confirmatory tests for our athletes and are confident that the entire Indian squad will deliver high quality performances,” AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said.
“We have been keen to ensure that we enter a fit and competitive contingent. We are sure that the athletes will now fly the Indian flag high at this excellent facility in the Kalinga Stadium.”
Host India is fielding a 95-member strong team, including 46 women.