Athletics Federation of India seems to have started it’s planning for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and before that the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia. This would be very much on everybody’s mind when the four-day 56th National Open Athletics Championship begins in Lucknow on Tuesday.
The meet, which is the first one after the Rio Olympics, is set to provide ample opportunity to young athletes like Tintu Luka etc., to join the first list of core group probable for the 2020 Games and also among the campers for the next Asian Games.
The meet, which also marks the beginning of the newly laid synthetic track at the Sports Authority of India, will see many top athletes in action, including ace long jumper and Olympian Renjith Maheshwari.
“It’s a big opportunity for the youngsters to stake their claims for the future events like Olympics and the Asian Games as it’s the part of AFI’s long term planning to ensure India’s success at the top,” UP Athletics Association’s secretary PK Srivastava told HT. “Those, who miss the event here may not be getting a chance even to make it to the campers list for the 2018 Asian Games.”
“We had 13 medals at the Incheon Asian Games and we are targeting to make it double at the 2018 Asian Games. The first coaching camp of the Indian probable will start on October 15 and there is no other championship over the next six months for one to qualify for this so everybody is aiming something big,” added Srivastava, who also happens to be the AFI’s treasurer.
He, however, confirmed the participation of five athletes from Nepal in the meet. “This is for the first time when Nepalese athletes would be participating in the Indian domestic championship. They would be contesting for the national record of their country as they don’t have photo finish facility,” he added.
For record, there would be over 500 athletes, who would be vying for 44 gold medals over the next four days. So far 35 teams from states, different sports control boards etc. have reached the state capital for the participation.