The plan of the country's top middle and long distance runners to train in Kenya and Italy has been put on hold with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) frowning on the Athletics Federation of India's (AFI) proposal to prepare them for the 2012 London Games.
"The training plan wasn't precise. That's why the tour has been postponed," said SAI director general, Desh Deepak Verma, on the proposed four-month stint in Kenya, followed by three months in Italy. "The federation has been asked to rework the plan," he added.
The AFI had tied up renowned Italian distance expert Claudio Bareradelli, who has a training base in the small Kenyan town of Eldoret. As per the agreement, he was supposed to work with Kavita Raut, Preeja Sreedharan, Sudha Singh and OP Jaisha, all members of the core group.
In the latter part of the tour, the athletes were to compete and train in Italy to achieve the qualification mark for London.
According to Verma, the athletes had raised concerns over spending four months in Kenya. "A short duration camp should be equally beneficial," he said. The four athletes had given a good account of themselves last year, but thereafter, their performance has gone down.
The tour appears to be jinxed. Initially, they were to go for training in mid-October, but since the ministry cleared the proposal, which will cost R94 lakh, in the first week of November, the athletes were to leave on November 10. But it got postponed.