Juniors are burned out due to overtraining, so not enough back-up for women’s 4x400m relay: Nair

Bhubaneswar:¬†Winner of five successive gold from 2002 to 2018 in women’s 4x400m relay, India is struggling to string together a six-member team for the upcoming Asian Games, and chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair attributed it to the lack of back-up from junior athletes.

The reason for the lack of back-up is “burnout” due to “overtraining at young age”.

Nair said India will struggle to win a gold medal in the Hangzhou Asian Games (September 23 to October 8) as some of the promising quarter-milers faded out after doing extremely well at the junior level.

“We are not getting the back-up from junior to senior. The best (among juniors) are burnt out. At a young age, they are overtrained very badly,” Nair told PTI on the sidelines of the National Inter-State Athletics Championship here. He gave the examples of Rupal Chaudhary of Haryana, who won an individual 400m bronze with an impressive 51.85sec time besides being part of the silver-winning 4x400m relay in the World U-20 Championships last year in Colombia, as well as of rising quarter-milers Priya Mohan and Rezoana Mallick Heena.

“You must have seen Rupal (Chaudhary), where is she? She ran five races last year in Cali, Colombia (World U-20 Championships). In the last race, she ran her best. But she has been overtrained from a young age.

“Priya Mohan also, I am afraid, her performance is deteriorating. Same thing in case of Rezoana. She’s just 16 and can just burn up. At 16-17 years of age, they should be trained properly. We are not supposed to specialise a child in 400m at the age of 14 or 15.

“This women’s 400m event is very popular, because of Asian Games gold medal (in 4x400m relay), lot of money coming in, lot of popularity, Arjuna Award etc, so most of the coaches know their wards are good at 100m and 200m but will still put them in 400m.” He said it was not a question of all the promising junior athletes joining the national camp but it was about proper training.

Promising quarter-miler Priya Mohan pulls out due to health issues: Priya Mohan entered her name for the ongoing National Inter-State but she did not turn up. The same is the case with Rupal Chaudhary who did not start in her heat race on Thursday. It is learnt that Priya Mohan, who currently trains at the Inspire Institute of Sports (IIS) at Bellary, Karnataka, was hospitalised a few days ago due to some injury. She is now recovering.

“Some health issue is there but it is not a serious one, she is all right, she is taking rest at the IIS. The AFI knows why she is not taking part in the National Inter-State. She is coming to Bangalore tomorrow and will take a rest. She will recover soon,” Priya’s father HA Mohan told PTI from Karnataka.

Rezoana Mallick Heena, who recently won 400m gold in the Asian U-20 Championships in Korea with a time of 53.32s, failed to reach the semifinals after finishing fourth in heat 2 with a below par time of 55.20.

Only three top quarter-milers in contention for relay team in national camp: The AFI has a policy of not including non-campers in the 4x400m relay team but some of the top quarter-milers are training outside camp. ¬†“We have Anjali Devi and Aishwarya Mishra who can run sub-53sec and Dandi Jyothika Sri in the camp. Himanshi Malik (Haryana) has agreed to come to the camp. R Vithya Ramraj (sub 53sec on Thursday) was at camp earlier but not now and we don’t know where Prachi is,” he said.

Nair is hoping that Himanshi, as well as Rezoana, would join the national camp immediately after the National Inter-State so that the Indian 4x400m team can train together for the Asian Games.

Nair is happy that Anajli has come back after almost three years to clock a good time in the 400m heats. “She was impressive in 2019, she ran 51-plus but in one of the training sessions, she suffered a muscle tear.” Nair said the men’s 4x400m relay has a brighter chance than their women’s counterpart to do better in the Asian Games

“Muhammed Ajmal, Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Rajesh Ramesh, these four are expected to run below 46 seconds. Muhammed Ajmal and Rajesh Ramesh ran sub-46 in Ranchi (Federation Cup last month). Then we have Mijo Chacko Kurian who can run sub-46,” Nair said. “Noah Tom also runs sub-46 but he is injured, ACL tear and he is not expected to run this season.”

Sprinters Suseendran and Daneshwari injured: Sprinters Archana Suseendran and A T Daneshwari got injured during warm-up on Wednesday.

“Archana Suseendran had a hamstring strain last week but yesterday morning when she was having start (practice) she had a tear,” Nair said.

“A T Daneshwari, she put on her spikes for warming up yesterday (at the warm-up area at the side of the Kalinga Stadium) and she jumped up and down, and ankle got dislocated.”

He said all those athletes who have breached the Asian Games qualifying mark set by the AFI should finish in top two in the ongoing National Inter-State Championship to become eligible for participation in the continental multi-sport spectacle.

“This, of course, does not apply to those athletes who have been exempted by the AFI from taking part in the National Inter-State, like Neeraj Chopra and Avinash Sable.”