In the absence of the country’s top athletes, who are currently training abroad, the men’s triple jump and the women’s throws events are expected to be the top draws in the Indian Grand Prix 3 on Saturday.
The spotlight could be on the women’s throws where Abha Khatua and Manpreet Kaur (shot put), Navjeet Kaur Dhillion (discus throw) and Sarita Ramit Singh (hammer throw) will vie for top honours.
At the triple jump pit, a high quality competition can be expected with Eldhose Paul, Abdulla Aboobacker, Karthik Unnikrishnan and Gauly Venister Devasahayam likely to push one another.
Eldhose Paul (16.99m) and Karthik Unnikrishnan (16.81), season leaders in India, will seek consistency.
The presence of local runners Srabani Nanda and Amiya Mallick in the women’s and men’s 200m races will be of great interest to the home fans at the Kalinga Stadium.
The 31-year-old Nanda’s first national-level competition in India in nearly four years will be watched with interest. Using Kingston, Jamaica, as her training base, she has a creditable 23.68 second 200m performance on March 26 as her best this year.
With the cream of India’s women’s sprinting talent now in Turkey, she will have to push herself for a better timing.
Navjeet Kaur will make her first appearance in a national-level discus throw competition since September 2021, when she won the National Open Championships with a best effort of 54.49m.
The vastly experienced Sarita Romit Singh is the only 60m-plus hammer thrower in the field.
The last national-level athletics competition in Bhubaneswar was the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in 2018, a year after the majestic Kalinga Stadium hosted Asian Athletics Championships.
Competitions on Saturday begin with men’s pole vault and conclude with the men and women’s 5000m events.