Commonwealth Games 2022: Muhammed Anas replaces Rajesh Ramesh in Indian athletics contingent

Noah Nirmal Tom did not run the men’s 4x400m relay at the recent World Championships and there was no official explanation for that but the quartermiler finds a place in the Indian athletics team for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games which begin on Thursday.

The men’s relay quartet fared poorly at the Worlds, clocking 3:07.29s and finishing 12 th out of 13 teams with anchor Rajesh Ramesh running a very slow 48.30s.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has now replaced Ramesh with national record holder Muhammed Anas, who was not in the original team announced last month. The new CWG team was announced on Wednesday evening.

“Ramesh has a minor injury and could not perform as expected at the Worlds,” said Adille Sumariwalla, the AFI president.

“Two female athletes are dropped from the team after they failed a dope test. We have zero tolerance for doping.”

After sprint relay runner S. Dhanalakshmi failed a dope test, news came in the other day that another relay runner M.V. Jilna failed a dope test and has also been dropped from the women’s 4x100m team. That will leave the women’s side with just four relay runners, with options to pick others like long jumper Ancy Sojan (12.04s personal best in 100m) and sprint hurdler Jyothi Yarraji (11.61 PB in 100m) in case of injury to any of the relay runners.

The AFI was allowed a maximum of 36 athletes earlier by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and a few weeks ago, there was a worry that the number would not be enough. But now, after injuries to Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and Asian shot put record holder Tajinderpal Singh Toor and the dope failures, the AFI just has a 32-member team for Birmingham.

“The Indian team is full of young athletes and it is a great chance for these youngsters to shine at the CWG. We have a good team of 32 athletes though our quota for the Games was 36,” said Sumariwalla.

The team

Men: Avinash Sable (3000m steeple chase & 5000m), Nitender Singh Rawat (marathon), D.P. Manu, Rohit Yadav (javelin), M. Sreeshankar, Muhammed Anees (long jump), Abdulla Aboobacker, Praveen Chithravel, Eldhose Paul (triple jump), Tejaswin Shankar (high jump), Sandeep Kumar, Amit (10km walk), Amoj Jacob, Noah Nirmal Tom, Muhammed Anas, Muhammed Ajmal, Naganthan Pandi (4x400m relay).

Women: Dutee Chand (100m & 4x100m relay), Hima Das (200m & 4x100m relay), Jyothi Yarraji (100m hurdles), Manpreet Kaur (shot put), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon, Seema Punia (discus throw), Annu Rani, Shilpa Rani (javelin), Manjula Bala Devi, Sarita R. Singh (hammer), Ancy Sojan (long jump), Bhawna Jat, Priyanka Goswami (10km walk), Srabani Nanda, N.S. Simi (4x100m relay).

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