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Indian athletes target five gold medals

Calcutta: Indian athletes are hopeful of getting five golds and 18 medals in total in the Busan Asian Games, Bibek N. Lahiri, manager of the athletics squad, said on Tuesday.

He based his assumption on the recent performance and timings of the athletes. “Our best bets will be K.M. Beenamol (400m and 800m), Saraswati Saha (200m), Shakti Singh (shot-put) and women’s 4x400 relay (of which Bengal’s Soma Biswas is a key member). They have been consistent in maintaining a record which is at par with Asia’s best,” Lahiri said at a meet-the-press on Tuesday.

“There are also a few others waiting in the wings, who may notch up a few medals. Like discus-thrower Anil Kumar, who is now undergoing training in Hungary. During practice he has been frequently throwing a distance of 64 metre, which is Asia’s best,” the manager added.

Apart from the individual coaches, six foreigners, including two Russian coaches — Yuri Ogorodniki (sprint) and Yuri Minakov (throwing) — are currently involved in training the athletes. The 43-member squad will leave for Busan on October 2.

In the last Asian Games in Bangkok, India got 15 medals in athletics, including two golds from Jyotirmoyee Sikdar.

Lahiri, also a treasurer of AAFI, said all the athletes will undergo dope tests in Delhi ahead of their departure for Busan. Even, each of the 15 individual coaches has been given a booklet containing do’s and don’t’s to be followed with regard to avoiding any doping scandals.

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