Versatile distance runner Sudha Singh is focussed at this month's National Inter-State Athletics Championships will be to crack the Olympic Games' qualification mark of women's 3000 meters steeplechase.
"The Inter-State meet will be my last chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games. I'm hopeful of winning a ticket to Tokyo before the June 29 deadline to achieve the qualification time," Olympian Sudha told IANS on Sunday.
The Olympic qualification mark is 9 minutes 30 seconds.
The National Inter-State Athletics Championships is scheduled to be held from June 25 in Patiala.
Sudha, 33, said that the steeplechase qualification time is within her reach. "I've been training and racing for a steeplechase event since 2010. Therefore, I'm confident of achieving my goal of running under the qualification mark at the Inter-State competition in Patiala," she said from Bengaluru, where she is training.
Initially, Sudha's focus was to earn Olympic qualification time in the women's marathon. But she wasn't successful in cracking the marathon qualification mark of 2 hours 29 minutes 30 seconds in February at the National Marathon held in New Delhi.
"I had planned to run another marathon race in Europe, but the Covid pandemic crisis in India spoiled my chances. Since the deadline of May 31 to qualify for the marathon is over, the focus now is to achieve a good result in the steeplechase event," said the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games 3000m steeplechase silver medallist.
In March, the Uttar Pradesh athlete had skipped the Federation Cup, an Olympic qualification event, as she was still recovering from the marathon she had run the previous month. Moreover, Sudha was hopeful of getting a chance to compete in her second marathon in May.
"It takes more than a month to recover from a marathon race. Since my target was to compete in another marathon race in May, I wasn't concentrating much on track workouts," said the Arjuna award winner.