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Asian athletics body plans revamp to ensure top stars in continental meet

Top athletes from China and Japan routinely skip the Asian Atheltics Championships, but the continental body now wants to find ways to ensure their participation.

other sports Updated: Jul 06, 2017 22:04 IST
HT Correspondent
The Indian contingent marching past during the opening ceremony of the 22nd Asian Athletic Championships.
The Indian contingent marching past during the opening ceremony of the 22nd Asian Athletic Championships.(PTI)

Asian athletics bosses are looking to revamp competition in the region to ensure top names don’t stay away from the continental championships, Qatar’s Asian Athletics Association president, Gen Dalhan Al Hamad, said on Wednesday.

None of the top Chinese or Japanese athletes are in the fray for the meet starting in the Orissa capital on Thursday, while Mutaz Essa Barshim, world’s best high jumper from Hamad’s own backyard too will skip the event as he prepares for next month’s world championships in London.

‘’It downgrades the competition as well as denies the fans the chance to see top athletes in action. We discussed the issue in the Council and it was insisted that all top stars should compete in the continent’s competition. We are looking for a quick solution,’’ the AAA chief told the media.

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Hamad said currently athletes are at liberty to achieve entry standard for the worlds in any of the other competitions sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

‘’So, if certain rules are changed perhaps it might allow more and more champions to participate in the area competition. There is a road map to revamp the structure of the Asian Grand Prix events. The new format will certainly add value to continental meets,’’ he said.

‘’Our strategic plan for 2018 to 2021 is to improve our strength and also examine the weakness,’’ he added.

Although Qatar is currently facing major turbulence due to regional issues, Hamad said it is scheduled to hold the next Asian athletics meet in 2019. ‘’Since we have been allotted the world championships, it will act as a test event for us,’’ he said.

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The elections to the Asian body will also be held in Doha on that occasion. As per IAAF policy, election to all regional bodies must be held before the world body’s elections in 2019.

In the 2013 election to the Asian body held in Pune, Hamad had ousted India’s Suresh Kalamdi. There were allegations he had manipulated the elections in connivance with former IAAF chief Lamine Diack, who is under investigation over corruption allegations.