Quarter-milers Noah Nirmal Tom and Alex Antony, who have become integral part of the Indian relay team this year, have expressed their displeasure on being ignored for selection for the 7th CISM World Military Games in Wuhan, China.
While Noah serves as Sergeant in the Indian Air Force Antony holds the Corporal rank in the same.
The Kerala duo has been among the fastest quarter-milers in the country this season. Noah has clocked the third fastest time of 45.75 seconds behind fellow military man and national record holder Muhammed Anas (45.21s) and Arokia Rajiv (45.37s), who won silver at the last Military Games in 2015 and missed out on a spot this time due to a toe injury. Alex is the fourth fastest runner behind the trio with a timing of 46.18 seconds.
Noah even proved his credentials in the relay races as he clocked 44.99 seconds running the anchor leg in both the mixed and men’s races at the World Championships.
“It was a big disappointment for me to miss out on a spot in the Military games,” 24-year-old Noah told Mail Today. “Since Alex and I lost on a spot in 2015 due to injury, we both were very eager to take part in it this time around.”
The 17-member strong list for track and field includes Anas (Seaman in navy) for 400m and 400m relays, along with Jithu Baby (Chief Petty Officer in navy), Kunhu Muhammed (Subedar in army), and Harsh Kumar (Havildar in army) for the 400m relays.
“Given our performances this year, we were certain to find a spot in the national games. But we both were ignored for selection. It was a dream for me to participate in the Military Games but we both were ignored despite clocking faster than the selected members except Anas,” said 25-year-old Alex, who missed out relay action at the Worlds due to fever.
The athletes do seem to have a valid argument as other selected runners – Jithu (46.84s), Kunhu (46.47s) and Harsh (46.46) – have clocked timing slower than the IAF runners.
Despite several attempts to contact, Services Sports Control Board officials and coach of the relay team Muhammed Kunhi were unavailable for their comment on the issues.