| Bengal will miss the experience of Soma Biswas
Calcutta: Though the 53rd state athletic championships, to be held at the Salt Lake Stadium from Thursday to June 8, will miss two of Bengal’s most illustrious stars — Saraswati Dey and Soma Biswas — there seems to be plenty left in the state’s cupboard to make a show of it.
Soma is participating in the Bangkok leg of the Asian Grand Prix on Thursday and therefore will have to give the meet a skip.
That leaves in the field the likes of long jumper Sanjay Rai who is now fit and will take part as a member of Eastern Railway. In all 35 units are taking part in the meet and Darjeeling is one district without any entry.
Then there is upcoming Pinky Pramanik who shone in the ATF’s 100m, 200, and 400m as a junior. Also around will be Harishankar Roy, the high jump ace whose personal best is an impressive 2.12m.
Javelin thrower Manisha Mondal (personal best over 51m) and triple jumper Manisha De (personal best of over 13.5m) will be the ones to beat. Also present will be Rakhi Saha, who was fourth in a 100m photo finish at the Hyderabad National Games and fifth in 200m.
Another upcoming talent is Birangana Thakur. This under-14 does a triathlon event formulated for sub-juniors — group I for 100m, long jump and 800m, or group II for 100m, high jump add shot put — and looks a real winner.
The state meet will be the basis for selection of the teams for the Jamshedpur East Zone meet in August, and also for the Federation Cup to be held next month in Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, considering the severe heat and humidity prevailing in the city , the Amateur Athletic Association, West Bengal, approached state sports minister Subhas Chakraborty and he has allowed free use of the Salt Lake Stadium lights for two hours each day. That way there can be a gap in the afternoon.
Super district meet
Patna will host, in September, a rather unique meet’s first edition: the all-India inter-district athletics meet. It is a new concept of the Amateur Athletics Federation of India with 13 from each district taking part.
Well beyond 5,000 athletes are expected to take part in the meet, which is sure to be a logistical nightmare for the organisers.