India's Manjit Kaur nowhere near the best in 400 metres

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Patiala, Mar 28: Punjab's amazon sprinter, Manjit Kaur will soon fly off to Athletics Track Club in California to train under coach Cedric Hill in a bid to win a medal at the Beijing Olympics.

This is sheer heady optimism as her recent past performances suggest that she is nowhere close to winning a medal in Beijing Olympics. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal who presented a cheque for Rs 34-lakh to Manjit Kaur for her training in the United States, prior to Beijing Olympics, had requested the OMAXE Group to sponsor her training in US.

Perhaps, OMAXE Group is not aware at all that Manjit Kaur was not placed even 50th in women's 400m in World Ranking last year.

Manjit Kaur's best performance till date is 51.05 sec in 400m, which she recorded on June 16, 2004 at Chennai in the third Domestic Meet, creating a new national record to qualify for Athens Olympics 2004. Ever since, she has been on the decline and could never improve upon her performance.

In 2005, she won the gold medal at the 16th Asian Athletic Championship in Incheon, South Korea, clocking 51.50 sec. In 2006, she won a silver medal in Doha Asiad, returning a timing of 52.17 sec.

In the same year, she spurned the opportunity to compete with the best sprinters in the world during the World Athletic Championship, held in Osaka, Japan, from August 25 to September 2, where Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain won the 400m in 49.61 sec.

Even the eighth runner, Mary Wineberg of US, clocked 50.96 sec. which is way ahead of Manjit Kaur's career best performance of 51.05 sec. Taking part this year in the First Indian Grand Prix Athletics at Patiala, she recorded 53.47 sec in 400m on February 21 and a week later she was relegated to fourth place in the Federation Cup at Bhopal, behind Chitra K Soman (53.59 sec), Mandeep Kaur (53.88 sec) and Geetha, S (54.23 sec.).

The Olympic medal at the forthcoming Olympics in Beijing is just crying for the moon if one goes by the statistics as Manjit is nowhere near the Olympic performance which the sprinters had recorded in Athens Olympics in 2004.

The timings of the medallists at Athens are quite revealing: T Williams Darling (Bahamas):49.41 sec, Ana Guevara (Mexico): 49.56 sec and Natalya Anlyakh (Russia): 49.89 sec. Even the eighth runner, Natalya Nazarova (Russia) clocked 50.63 sec.

Worst of all, Manjit Kaur is ranked 4th in India which does not suggest by any stretch of imagination that she can improve to the extent of winning a medal in Beijing Olympics.


UNI

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