The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sunita Rani likely to skip ATF meet
- Star runner for only 1500m in next year's Olympics

Jamshedpur: Very few, perhaps, have experienced the vicissitudes of life as much as Sunita Rani.

From being the toast of the nation for her track exploits to becoming an object of scorn and ridicule — the middle-distance runner has seen it all within a short span.

But now, months after her acquittal from doping charges, Sunita is back on the tracks with a vengeance, her mind focused on bringing more laurels to the country from the coming Afro-Asian Games as also next year’s Athens Olympics.

“At present I am concentrating fully on the Afro-Asian Games where I’ll participate in both the 1500m and 5000m,” the Busan Asian Games gold medallist said on Sunday.

However, Sunita said she was not very keen on taking part in the Asian Track and Field (ATF) meet to be held in Manila from September 20 to 23.

“I’m not yet fully prepared for such an international meet. In fact, time is too short also for the Afro-Asian Games which is two months away,” she said.

“Moreover, I restarted training in Patiala only two months back. To succeed in an international competition you need at least six months of practice.”

She felt rivals from Kenya, Ethiopia and one or two from Asia may give her a good run for her money in the Afro-Asian Games.

She will get down to training for the Olympics, where she will take part in the 1500m, once the meet in Hyderabad is over.

Sunita said she skipped the 1500m in the inter-state athletics meet here as she did not feel fit enough. The Punjab athlete was on a song in last year’s Busan Asian Games winning the 1500m gold, but found herself in the middle of controversy when her urine sample “tested positive” for prohibited nandrolone. However, she was later cleared of the charges.

But the nightmarish experiences still haunt her. “I just want to forget them,” she said.

After her return, Sunita picked up three golds (1500m, 5000m and 10000m) in the world fire and police meet in Barcelona. But Sunita said she was still without a sponsor. “It will benefit me greatly if I get one. However I find it completely unbecoming to knock on the doors of sponsors,” she said.

She was all praise for Anju Bobby Geroge’s exploits in the Paris world championship, where she won a bronze. “She has made the country proud. She had proved that the Indians also have it in themselves to win laurels in top flight international meets,” Sunita said. (PTI)

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