The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) selection committee recently didn't give its consent to the men's 4x100m relay squad for the World Athletics Championships to be held in South Korea, despite the squad having attained the qualification mark.
The decision comes when the AFI has already invested huge amounts of tax payers' money in preparing the athletes for the 2012 London Games. Over the last two years, India's top sprinters have even gone for exposure trips to England and Ukraine and have a foreign coach who earns a monthly salary between $4000-5000.
However, with just a year left for the Games, instead of polishing the skills of the Commonwealth Games bronze medal winning relay squad, the AFI decides to make them skip a World meet. However, it can't be ignored that after clocking 38.89 seconds last year, the team clocked 40.38 seconds in the recent Asian meet at Kobe to finish eighth and last. One of the members of the CWG relay squad, Suresh Sathya, has also failed a dope test.
"Since the athletes are not fit, we are not sending the team for the World Championships," said ML Dogra, a top AFI official. Though none of the top male sprinters has been running close to 10.50 seconds, the presence of a foreign coach at the expense of government money has raised eyebrows. "He is preparing the team for the London," he added.