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Soma, Susmita to skip trials

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Soma Biswas and Susmita Singha Roy, the two Bengal women who lead the heptathlon charts for the season, have informed the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) that they would not be participating in the trials for the Asian Games starting at the Nehru Stadium here on Monday.

The two athletes, trainees of Dr Kunthal Roy, have requested the federation to consider their performances in the domestic meets so far for selection purposes. The lone woman in the fray in the trials will thus be J. J. Shobha, the National record holder whose last best performance (6172 points) had come at the Athens Olympics two years ago.

Having finished first or second in the three National-level meets this year (Federation Cup, Open National and inter-State), Soma and Susmita obviously feel that there is hardly any justification for another trial.

The coaches and the AFI, on the other hand, feel that Shobha has a good chance of overhauling the results achieved by the Bengal women and also stood a better chance for a medal in the Doha Games. Shobha had finished third in the three National-level meets this year with a best of 5734 points in the Chennai inter-State meet.

Only Susmita has bettered the third-place mark of the last Asian Games (5870) with her career-best 5872 in the Federation Cup here in March. Soma has a best of 5857 for the year. The sixth-place standard that the Union Sports Ministry has accepted is 5528.

Trials will also be held in decathlon, to provide another chance to P. J. Vinod, men's long jump and triple jump.

In order to conserve Vinod's energy, he may be asked to compete only in eight events of the decathlon, leaving out the 400 metres and 1500 metres.

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