As she jogged around Birsa Munda Stadium track here on Wednesday evening, one could notice a smile on V.K. Vismaya’s face. This has been a very happy season, like the last, for the young girl who was nowhere in the national radar a couple of years ago.

She now has a relay gold from the Asian Games, a silver from the Asians, has run in the recent World Championships and also played a big part in the country qualifying for next year’s Tokyo Olympics in the mixed relay.

“This looks like a nice long dream. And now, since my time is improving nicely, I’ll try to qualify for the Olympics in the individual 400m. It’s possible,” Vismaya told The Hindu on the eve of the 59th National Open athletics championships here on Wednesday. The 22-year-old has a personal best of 52.12s and the Tokyo entry standard is 51.35.

Vismaya and her rivalry with Anjali Devi, the best quartermiler this season with 51.53s, and Jisna Mathew, who looked impressive at the Doha Worlds in the relays, will be one of top events to watch in the four-day event.

“I don’t see this (the presence of Anjali and Jisna) as a big rivalry. In sport, anything can happen any time but I will give my best. If we have good competitors, we can do good timings too,” said Vismaya.

Attracting attention

National record holder Muhammed Anas’ 400m race against the fast-improving Noah Nirmal Tom should be another event that could attract attention.

Meanwhile, long jump national record holder M. Sreeshankar (personal best 8.20m) will be keen to produce a big one and push the Doha Worlds, where he failed to qualify for the final with an effort of 7.62m, out of his mind.

But the two jumps runways here appeared old and worn-out and that should be a concern for the long and triple jumpers here.

Prominent names

Jinson Johnson, the men’s national record holder and Asian Games 1500m gold medallist, and 110m hurdles national record holder Siddhanth Thingalaya are some of the prominent names who will be seen in action here.

Meanwhile javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, the country’s biggest name in athletics, is expected here on Friday but there are questions over whether he should rush into competition so soon after his surgery (see box).

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